|Nesthy Petecio tearfully rejoices after claiming the silver medal in her maiden Olympic stint. Reuters|
By Ozzy Alaba
MANILA — And Nesthy Petecio ended her maiden Olympic journey on a silver lining.
The Filipina fighter's pursuit for Olympic gold met its end on Tuesday afternoon, succumbing to Japan's Sena Irie on unanimous decision to settle for silver in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics women's featherweight boxing finals at the Kokugikan Arena.
Petecio struggled to find her groove as she fell prey to Irie's punching aggression and never found her footing from there, submitting to a bitter 28-29, 28-29, 28-29, 29-30, 27-30 loss on the official scorecards.
It also marked her third defeat on the home bet's hands in their four bouts.
Despite losing, the reigning world feather queen still marked a historic feat for being the first Filipina boxer to win an Olympic medal in the country's 97-year Summer Games campaign.
She also notched the boxing squad's first silver in their three-medal haul in the current Olympiad, adding to Carlo Paalam and Eumir Marcial's two assured plums.
Before battling the 20-year-old, the Davao del Sur pride annexed her Olympic golden shot by escaping Italy's Irma Testa through a split decision semifinal victory.
Petecio was pushed on a cliff's edge right from the get-go when the Japanese uncorked powerful jabs enough to gain the five judges' plugs in the opening salvo.
The SEA Games multi-medalist, however, responded with a fierce fightback, landing deadly hits of her own in the second canto to earn the nods of four judges.
But Nesthy's supposed comeback just fell short.
Though both sides exchanged strong blows on each other down the wire, the red-clad still bowed down on the Yonago native via scorecard points in the endgame, carving a bittersweet conclusion to her Olympic stint.
While going home as a runner-up, Nesthy is still set to receive at least P17 million in cash incentives, alongside with a condominium and free airline flights from the government and private sectors.
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