Olympic boxer Nesthy Petecio dedicates silver medal to LGBTQ community – NBC News

Nesthy Petecio of the Philippines won silver Tuesday in women’s featherweight boxing after a close match against Japan’s Sena Irie.

The out boxer dedicated her win to her country, her coaches and to LGBTQ people.

“This win is for the LGBTQ community. Let’s go, fight!” she said, according to a translation from ESPN.

Petecio’s Olympic medal brought a number of historic firsts for her country: She is the first woman from the Philippines to win a boxing medal, and the first Filipino boxer to medal at the Games in almost 25 years, according to Outsports.

She and her teammate Irish Magno, who is also part of the LGBTQ community, were the first Filipino women to compete in boxing at the Olympics. Magno was the first Filipino woman to qualify for the Games, according to Quartz.

Boxing is one of the most popular sports in the Philippines alongside basketball, The Los Angeles Times reported. Half of the 12 Olympic medals the country has ever won have come in boxing, and it’s expected to win two more in boxing before the Tokyo Games end.

That history persuaded Petecio, 29, to box in the first place. In an interview with the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Channel, she said the Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao — who is widely regarded as one of the best professional boxers in history — has been an inspiration for her.

“I compare my life to his,” she said, according to a translation from the Olympic Channel. “We both came from hardships, we both started from nothing. We couldn’t eat without debt.”

She added that she sees herself in him. “He really is my idol,” she told the Olympic Channel. She said her father began training her in boxing at just 11 years old, and it has since helped her to overcome poverty and support others.

In 2019, she won the world championship at the 2019 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships.

She told the Olympic Channel that the 2020 Olympics are “super important” to her.

“First of all, this is for my family,” she said. “This isn’t for me, it’s for my dad. He always wanted to compete in the Olympics, but that dream ended. So I promised myself that I would be the one to carry out his dream. For my family, for the country and even myself.”

Both Petecio and Irie gave it their all in their third and final round on Tuesday, ESPN5 reported. The match was close, but all five judges gave the round to Irie.

When Petecio accepted her silver medal, she cried. In a post-match interview with ESPN5, she apologized for only bringing home a silver medal. “To all who prayed for me, messaged me, I thank you very much,” she said.

She added that she’s already looking forward to the 2024 Summer Games in Paris. “We’re still chasing the gold,” she said, according to Outsports. “We’re not done.”

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Jo Yurcaba

Jo Yurcaba is an associate editor at NBC Out.