By JONAS TERRADO
The Philippines is assured of having multiple medal winners in the Olympic Games for the first time since 1932 following boxer Nesthy Petecio’s victory in the women’s featherweight division.
Petecio’s unanimous decision win over Columbian Arias Castaneda assured her of going home with at least a bronze medal, with the chance of replicating the golden feat of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz still in play.
Regardless of where Petecio ends up, the Philippines ended an 89-year wait for multiple medalists in the Olympics.
The country produced three bronze medals at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, with swimmer Teofilo Yldefonso repeating his performance four years ago in Amsterdam by claiming a bronze in the 200-meter breaststroke.
Simon Toribio also settled for bronze in the men’s high jump while Jose Villanueva also received the same medal in the men’s bantamweight class.
Villanueva’s feat was the first of six medals the Philippines got courtesy of boxing.
But the Philippines has not secured a medal in boxing prior to Petecio’s triumph since Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco’s silver in the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Petecio is also the first woman boxer from the Philippines to claim an Olympic medal. Other boxing medalists included Villanueva’s son Anthony (silver, 1964 Tokyo), Leopoldo Serantes (bronze, 1988 Seoul) and Velasco’s brother Roel (bronze, 1992 Barcelona).