Sports

Motivated by Hidilyn’s victory, Nesthy found his inner fire burning again


Nesty Petecio

Her competitiveness diminished by wealth, Nesthy Petecio emerges with a new craving for gold. —FAQ FILE PHOTO.

Nesthy Petecio has always looked to Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo as an inspiration.

News of Diaz-Naranjo’s gold medal win at the Tokyo Olympics prompted the boxer’s own silver medal win in the Japanese capital. The Diaz-Naranjo billboard at the entrance to the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex always amazes Petecio.

So when she was informed of the weightlifter’s latest feat, a three-gold performance at the recent International Weightlifting World Championships in Bogota, Colombia, Petecio was excited again.

“When I watched Hidilyn win the world championship, I was greatly encouraged to get back to training and pursue my dream of winning an Olympic gold medal,” Petecio said in Filipino.

Diaz-Naranjo won a gold medal in each of the women’s 55 kg world weightlifting, jerky and total jerk, the only marquee weightlifting event where a previous gold medalist has won. The country’s only Olympic is still missing precious hardware.

important inspiration

The spark of inspiration that lit the win was crucial to the country’s only female boxing Olympic medalist.

Petecio admits the multimillion-dollar rewards flooding in after she won a silver medal in the women’s featherweight division in Tokyo, Japan, extinguished the fire of competition and quenched her hunger to climb again. back in the ring to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“After [Tokyo] Olympics, I just want to rest and enjoy all the blessings. It reached a point when I started questioning myself. Do I still want to compete? Can I still do it?” Petecio said. “Hidilyn rekindled the fire in me.”

The 2019 world champion is currently camping in Baguio City with the rest of the national boxing team on vacation as they prepare for several tournaments next year, starting with the Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria, in February.

The team will set up camp in Muak Lek, Thailand, in the same month and compete in the Thailand Open International Tournament in March before Petecio dons gloves for the Women’s Boxing Association World Championships. economy in New Delhi, India, at the end of the year. Steps are.

“We are looking at six to seven tournaments next year as we look to qualify in Paris. Right now, we’re back to basics [in training]. I’m in good shape, my weight is in the right range and I’m working on my reflexes, but I have to develop my strength and speed,” said Petecio.

Petecio will be taking part in another training camp with the team in Antipolo next April in preparation for the Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and will also compete in the Men’s and Women’s Elite Boxing Championships. of the Asian Boxing Federation in July.

Asian Games

The national boxing team will train in China in August ahead of the Asian Games in Hangzhou scheduled for September 23 to October 23. 8 and watch action during the War Games World Cup from October 21 to 30 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The boxers will then set up camp in Sheffield, UK or Colorado Springs, USA, to prepare for the Olympic qualifying tournaments.

However, boxing’s Olympic qualifying tournaments are in danger of being canceled after the International Olympic Committee threatened to remove the sport from the program of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“It hurt me to hear that. It will be very sad, especially for young women who are hungry to achieve what we have achieved in women’s boxing. I hope these women will have the opportunity to compete in the Olympics,” said Petecio.

Despite the cloud of doubt hovering, nothing can distract 30-year-old Petecio from slowly regaining his old fighting form.

Thanks to Diaz-Naranjo’s feat, Petecio is back on track on his way to qualifying for Paris in pursuit of a gold medal.

“It all started when I saw her on the billboard at the gate of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex a few years ago. I told myself that one day I wanted to see my face in that canvas and I finally did,” Petecio said. “If Hidilyn can, I can too.”’ INQ

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