BACOLOD CITY – Amid the country’s jubilation over the historic success of Filipina boxer Nesthy Petecio in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, victory is even sweeter for Negrenses, particularly the people of Bago City, Negros Occidental — home of national boxing team coach Nolito Velasco.
Velasco mentored the Dabawenya fighter in her Olympic debut that earned her a silver in the women’s featherweight event, after bowing to Japan’s Sena Irie, at the Kokugikan Arena on Tuesday.
“As we congratulate Nesthy Petecio for giving the nation its second Tokyo 2020 Olympic medal (by) winning silver, we also would like to congratulate her coach, Nolito “Boy” Velasco, our kasimanwa (co-citizen) from Barangay Atipuluan,” the city government headed by Mayor Nicholas Yulo said in a statement posted on Facebook on Tuesday night.
The post was accompanied by Women’s National Basketball Association Commissioner Catherine Engelbert’s thoughts on sports leadership, which says: “Behind every great athlete is a masterful coach that inspires the athlete to evolve into the strongest performer they can become.”
“This means a lot to me. I dedicate this fight to my country, my family, and my best friend, who died last February. But most especially, I dedicate this silver medal to my coach, Coach Boy [Nolito Velasco] for his tireless effort to bring me to where I am now,” the 29-year-old Pinay boxer said in a press conference after her match.
Photos of Petecio crying, and also of her and Velasco hugging each other have been posted on the social media accounts of MVP Sports Foundation Inc.
Petecio’s silver was the first for Philippine boxing in the Olympics since Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco won the same medal in the Atlanta 1996 edition.
“Onyok” and Roel, who pocketed a boxing bronze in Barcelona 1992, are the younger brothers of Nolito, who was also instrumental in the Olympiad successes of his two siblings. (PNA)