Nesthy finds safe training haven, recharges qualifying plans
Although the next Olympic qualifier is several months away, the hunger to redeem herself has been building up inside Nesthy Petecio.
The reigning women’s featherweight world champion got frustrated in the previous qualifying window for the Tokyo Olympics and was out of the ring for months since the COVID-19 pandemic erupted early this year.
“It really makes me happy and I feel great to see a punching bag and a boxing ring after months of staying indoors,’’ Petecio said in Filipino during an online interview with the Philippine Sports Commission’s (PSC) “People Sports Conversations.”
The 28-year-old Davao del Sur boxing heroine recently found a boxing gym in her hometown Digos City that allowed for daily training. Petecio stays in a rented apartment nearby.
Petecio missed securing an Olympic ticket in the Asia and Oceania Boxing Olympic Qualification Tournament in Amman, Jordan, in March, just a week before the entire country plunged into a series of hard lockdowns due to COVID-19.
The agony of defeat at the hands of Japanese Sena Irie in the quarterfinals of the tournament had affected Petecio mentally for quite some time before she was able to pick up the pieces and stride forward.
“That was a very stressful time for me. I was affected by the opinion of other people who said that I should have qualified because I’m a world champion,’’ Petecio said.
“It’s not easy to fight in the qualifiers, but I have learned a lot since that setback. I was able to identify my weaknesses,’’ added Petecio, who thanked the Association of Boxing Alliances of the Philippines and the PSC for the full backing during her time of need.
The Southeast Asian Games featherweight gold medalist has normally been training twice a day, hitting the gym in the morning to follow the daily routine sent by coach Nolito Velasco through text messaging before going online in the afternoon for the national boxing team’s group training.
“I’m really eager to compete in the qualifiers and get that Olympic slot. I want to redeem myself and I think about it most of the time,’’ Petecio said.
The Boxing Task Force, set up by the International Olympic Committee to oversee the boxing competitions in the Tokyo Olympics, has planned to conduct the world qualification event for Tokyo Games in May 2021 and will be confirmed on a later date.
“We still cannot train the way we used to, but I have to learn to adjust. I’m taking it slow and my main concern right now is how to maintain my weight,’’ Petecio said.