Friday, September 17, 2021

Abalayan: Nesthy's date with history

Time Out

ONE fight at a time.

AIBA 2019 Women's World Boxing champion Nesthy Alcayde Petecio and her long-time coach Nolito "Boy" Velasco both share the same thought after the former secured a spot in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics women's boxing featherweight medal round, bringing her closer to winning the first Olympic boxing gold medal, which has ever since been denied the Philippines.

Already assured of a bronze medal, she will again have a date with history when she battles against Italy's Irma Testa today, July 31, in their semi-finals match. This native of Barangay Tuban in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur has already earned the distinction of winning the country's first Olympic boxing medal after 25 years and being the first Filipino female boxer to clinch a medal in the quadrennial Games.

In her two-day break Thursday and Friday, she and her coaches did their homework in studying Testa's video fights to see the latter's strengths and weaknesses. Usually, Nesthy would watch her opponent's videos alone and would rarely join her coaches in doing so.

World No. 2 Nesthy, in our recent Facebook Messenger video call after she defeated Yeni Marcela Arias Castañeda of Colombia via a unanimous 5-0 decision, said she is more comfortable doing her own homework so she can fully absorb the key points she must remember about her next rival.

But she greatly values her veteran coaches' inputs, which were instrumental in her last three bouts including that shocking split decision victory over World No. 1 Lin Yu-Ting of Chinese on July 26.

Beating the Italian will pave the way for Nesthy to have a shot at the coveted gold. But then again, she is not thinking about that yet as she is still set on the task at hand.

"Pirmi nako ginaingon Ginoo na bahala sa tanan. Kinahanglan trabahuon nako og isalig sa Iyaha (I've been saying that I entrust everything to God. I will have to work hard for it and trust him)," was her reply when her mother Prescilla cheered her on to go for the gold.

She has indeed worked hard just to reach this stage in her amateur boxing career. But she promises to continue working hard for it on the ring while surrendering all the rest to God.

Nesthy also asked the support of her fellow Filipinos to pray for her and the rest of Team Philippines. That's a request so easy to grant, right? How about taking a pause from whatever you may be currently doing and say a prayer for her and for the other Filipino athletes who are still competing in the Games? That already means a lot.

Thank you, kababayans, for rallying behind our athletes in Tokyo. We can indeed be stronger together. Laban Pilipinas! And to our boxers Nesthy, Carlo Paalam, and Eumir Felix Marcial, sumbag Pinoy!


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