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Nesthy Petecio wore a huge smile and raised her right fist up in the air moments after Irie Sena of Japan clinched gold in the women's featherweight finals of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday (August 3).
It was an unusual reaction to a heartbreaking unanimous decision loss, but perhaps Petecio knew all along that her impressive maiden campaign in the Summer Games was worth celebrating at that point in time.
After all, the 29-year-old Davao del Sur native became the first Filipina boxer to land on the podium of the Olympics in 97 years with her silver-medal finish.
Still, a defeat is a defeat. It was painful, upsetting even. And Petecio could not keep a tight rein on her emotions when she spoke with the Filipino media at the venue.
“Naiyak po ako kasi nanghihinayang po ako para sa mga coaches ko, kasi nga i-aalay ko sana. Gusto ko po sanang ialay 'yung gold para kay coach Nolito [Velasco] po pero ayun po kinulang po tayo," Petecio bared while fighting off tears.
"Humihingi po ako ng pasensya kung silver lang po naiuwi ko. Ginawa ko po lahat ng makakaya ko kanina," she continued. "Ginawa ko po 'yung best ko sa taas ng ring po."
(Translation: I cried because I felt sorry for my coaches. I wanted to dedicate my gold to coach Nolito Velasco, but I fell short.
I'm sorry if it's only silver I'm bringing home. I gave it my all. I did my best on the ring.)
True enough, Petecio left it all on the ring.
Despite having to handle a clinch-heavy tactic from Sena, which nullified her vaunted offensive prowess, all bout long, the Davao del Sur native still gave the Philippines a fighting chance of capturing a second gold in the Games.
At the end, Petecio's fate came down to the decision of the five judges, all of whom scored the match in favor of the hometown bet.
Heartbroken as she was, Petecio promises to continue pursuing the Olympic dream.
"Continue pa rin po ako. Chasing the gold pa rin po tayo," she said. "Hindi pa tapos po, may  Paris [Olympics] pa po.
(I'm still going to continue. We're still chasing the gold. We're not done, there's still 2024 Paris Olympics.)
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.