By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno
Boxer Nesthy Petecio (File photo)
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – Filipina boxer Nesthy Petecio is now assured of at least an Olympic bronze medal after beating Yeni Arias of Colombia in the women’s featherweight quarterfinals at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo on Wednesday.
Despite an aggressive stance from Arias, Petecio landed the more accurate shots in the opening minutes, earning the nod of all five judges in Round 1.
Arias finally began connecting in Round 2, getting the 10-9 score from judges Yaroslav Renev and Zhang Guo, but the other three judges, Sidali Mokretari, Roberto Servide, and Maksim Sulejmani, gave Round 2 to Petecio.
Servide found Arias the better boxer after Round 3 but the other four judges had Petecio winning the final frame, and Petecio eventually got the unanimous decision win.
“I am so happy for this moment. This is my first Olympics and I have won my first medal. I don’t really know how I feel right now,” Petecio said. “This tournament is proving so special to me, I am just so blessed.”
Coupled with weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz’s historic gold, the Philippines will be bringing home two or more Olympic medals for the first time since 1932, when high jumper Simeon Toribio, boxer Jose Villanueva, and swimmer Teofilo Yldefonso won bronze medals in Los Angeles.
Petecio is assured of at least a bronze medal but her stint is not yet over.
She will face Irma Testa of Italy, also a unanimous decision winner over Canada’s Caroline Veyre in another quarterfinals, in the semifinals on Saturday with the winner entering the gold medal bout and assuring herself a silver at least.
Petecio also became the first boxer to win an Olympic medal since Onyok Velasco won the silver during the 1996 games in Atlanta.
Meanwhile, Remedy Rule’s stint in the Tokyo Olympics came to an end as she missed out on making the finals of the women’s 200-meter butterfly event.
Rule finished last in Heat 2 of the semifinals at the Tokyo Aquatics Center and placed 15th overall out of 16 with a time of 2 minutes and 12.89 seconds, slightly slower from her finish in the preliminary heats the night before. (PNA)