The country can increase its stable of international boxing medalists with greater investment in grassroots training, Tokyo Olympics boxing silver medalist Nesthy Petecio’s coach said.
Nolito “Boy” Velasco, who also coached his brothers Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco when he won the silver medal in Atlanta in 1996, and Roel Velasco, who finished with a bronze in Barcelona in 1992, said parents and local government should support boxing hopefuls.
In a video call with reporters, Velasco noted that boxers “could not continue if there’s no support because they’re poor.”
“They couldn’t even afford to buy gloves,” he said.
Inspired by Petecio’s showing, Velasco volunteered to help with grassroots development in Bago City, where he and the Velasco brothers grew up.
“We always have boxers from Bago joining the Olympics. But no one this year, only Iloilo,” Nolito said.
Another Bago City resident, Olympian Reynaldo Galido, served with Velasco on the coaching staff. Both are also coaches of boxers Eumir Marcial, a bronze medalist in the Tokyo Games, and Carlo Paalam, who still has a shot at winning the country’s first Olympic boxing gold.
Velasco praised Petecio’s discipline and dedication, which he said are required of athletes who wish to represent the Philippines in international tilts.
The coach said he was part of the national team that competed in an international match in 1983, but he didn’t continue boxing after “nagdugo ilong ko (my nose bled).”
Petecio earlier included Velasco in her post-fight dedication.
“He sacrificed a lot for this competition. This is an important tournament, not for me but for my country and coaches,” the silver medalist said.
Velasco sees Petecio’s victory as doubly special because “it was on the same day, August 3, when Onyok also won his silver in 1996.”
Both times, he said, he believed his boxers should have won the gold, although scorecards on both events showed unanimous decisions.
“It’s like a premonition… and Nesthy was the first [Filipino] woman to win in Olympics in boxing, and on her first try,” said Velasco. – Rappler.com