Filipino Olympic pugilist Nesthy Petecio once predicted that Filipino women will outplay men in the sports world.
“Ang masasabi ko lang, mag-ingat-ingat na kayong mga kalalakihan kasi malapit na kayong malamangan ng mga kababaihan. Kumbaga wag kayong kumpyansa sa mga kababaihan po kasi kaya na namin kayong sabayan,” she said.
Petecio said this in March, a few months before the Tokyo Olympics, and now, the Philippines has its first gold medal from a woman, 30-year-old weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz who also set an Olympic record for the 55kg category.
After defeating Colombia’s Yeni Castaneda yesterday, Petecio secured the Philippines another medal—at least a bronze one, but also possibly a silver or gold. It is the first time the Philippines has had a multi-medal Olympic run for 89 years since the 1932 Games in Los Angeles.
This year, nine of the 19 Philippine Olympic delegates are women, and the fields they’re excelling in have been traditionally male-dominated, such as boxing, golf, skateboarding and weightlifting.
Besides Diaz and Petecio, they are:
- Kristine Knot for women’s 200m event
- Irish Magno for boxing
- Yuka Saso for golf
- Bianca Pagdanganan for golf
- Margielyn Didal for skateboarding
- Remedy Rule for swimming
- Elreen Ando for weightlifting
Didal, who flew back to the Philippines with Diaz yesterday, finished seventh at the Street Skateboarding finals on July 26.
Their names “Nesthy Petecio,” “Hidilyn Diaz” and “Margielyn Diaz,” along with the #AbanteBabae movement, immediately trended on social media following their Olympic achievements.
Social media applauded the show of Filipino girl power at the Olympics.
Others hoped that with this strong female representation, young Filipino girls who like to engage in sports should be supported and encouraged.
It’s not only the women who are excelling in sports that have long been male-driven. Petecio’s teammates, Carlos Yulo and Michael Martinez who had won in gymnastics and figure skating, respectively. Both sports are mostly stereotyped around women.
“I hope they will inspire more athletes to pursue their dreams and passion regardless of gender. Mabuhay ang mga atletang Pilipino! (the Philippine flag) #PinoyPride,” one user said.
In 2019, Yulo made history when he bagged the country’s first gold at the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships, and Petecio also won gold at the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in the featherweight division.
Petecio’s advice to boxers
Never give up on their dreams. “Laban lang! Lagi ko nga sinasabi na walang hihinto hanggang walang ginto,” Petecio said.
Social media users hoped that parents will also support their children who want to pursue sports, no matter which one.
“They don’t need to compete at the highest level, but the lessons, benefits and happiness that sports can give will be priceless,” a Twitter user wrote.