Sunday, the 14th of May was a historic day for the Philippines at the 32nd Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Cambodia. Two Filipino boxing heroes, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam, clinched gold, leading the country to a nine-medal haul for the day.
The two Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medalists‘ victorious bouts were just the tip of the iceberg, with a rich backstory of determination, redemption, and a relentless pursuit of excellence.
Carlo Paalam, who also boasts an Asian Games bronze medal, conquered Indonesia’s Aldoms Suguro in the men’s 54kg boxing division. It was a unanimous decision that awarded Paalam his second boxing title at the SEA Games, following his first win in 2019. His triumph marked a victorious return to the Games after a hiatus post the Tokyo Olympics.
Paalam, originally a 51kg category Olympic medallist, showed his versatility by performing equally well in the 54kg category. However, his sights are now firmly set on the upcoming Olympic qualifying meet at the Asian Games, for which he intends to compete in his original weight category.
His winning moment was more than just a personal accomplishment; it was a symbol of national pride. “The feeling is great right now, with all the support that’s been pouring in, especially from back in my hometown Cagayan de Oro,” Paalam said, showcasing his ambition to aim even higher next time.
WATCH Carlo Paalam’s bout here:
Nesthy Petecio was another Filipino who stole the limelight at the SEA Games. After a disappointing bronze finish at the last SEA Games in Vietnam, Petecio sought redemption and found it. She beat Ratna Devi of Indonesia in the women’s 54-57kg category, again by a unanimous decision. Her victory wasn’t just a personal win, but also a familial one, as her little brother, Norlan Petecio, won a silver medal.
Petecio’s gold medal at the SEA Games is her sixth overall and her second gold. Already a featherweight world champion from 2019, she now has her eyes set on the upcoming Olympics.
Paalam and Petecio’s victories played a significant part in the Philippines securing fifth place in the SEA Games, surpassing Singapore. The nine gold medals won by the Filipino contingent on Sunday brought the total gold medal count to 46, placing the team in a strong position going into the last two days of action.
Despite the triumphant day, the Filipino athletes are not resting on their laurels. As Paalam and Petecio, along with their teammates, set their sights on the Asian Games and the Olympics, they continue to inspire a new generation of Filipino athletes to dream big and strive for gold.
Their journey to SEA Games 2023 gold serves as a testament to their hard work, dedication, and unyielding spirit. As they celebrate their victories and prepare for the challenges ahead, the story of Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio is a compelling reminder of the power of resilience, determination, and the pursuit of excellence.
The Philippines’ current medal standing is at 5th place with 46 gold medals, including one from champion pole vaulter EJ Obiena and 2 from gymnastics star Carlos Yulo.
Congratulations! Filipino boxing Olympians Nesthy Petecio & Carlo Paalam lead Sunday's gold medal haul at the #SEAGames2023 https://t.co/sdjvtiV5Hr
— GoodNewsPilipinas.com (@GoodNewsPinas_) May 15, 2023
Filipino athletes next take the stage at the 2023 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, scheduled from September 23 to October 8.
SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to SEA Games 2023 gold medalists in boxing, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam!
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