Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Olympic medallists hope success boosts women’s boxing



Olympic medallists hope success boosts women’s boxing

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Philippines’ Nesthy Petecio (red) and Japan’s Sena Irie fight during their women’s feather (54-57kg) boxing final bout during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Kokugikan Arena on Tuesday. AFP

Olympic medallists hope success boosts women’s boxing

Women Olympic boxing medallists sent out a resounding message on Tuesday in Tokyo about the image of female fighters and hope their success can get more girls involved in the sport.

Sena Irie became the first Japanese woman to win Olympic boxing gold with a unanimous points decision victory over Nesthy Petecio, herself the first woman from the Philippines to pocket a medal in the sport.

Women’s boxing entered the Olympics for the first time at London 2012, when there were only three weight categories, but there are five in Tokyo and women’s boxing is more popular than ever.

But women boxers say more needs to be done.

“I’m not really good at sport in general,” said the 20-year-old Irie after winning the featherweight title, the first boxing gold of the pandemic-delayed Games.

“So this sends out a message to all girls who are not good at sports: as long as they try hard, they can achieve something.

“Media is now covering me and I think there will be more opportunities for media to cover women’s boxing,” she added.

“I hope that women’s boxing in Japan can become even more popular.”

That defiant message was echoed by Irma Testa, the bronze medallist from Italy.

“I can only say that I am really proud,” said the 23-year-old, who had also made a small piece of boxing history for her country.

“For me it was really important to win a medal in order to make women’s boxing in Italy more popular.

“So it’s the first medal ever for women’s boxing [in Italy], and with this medal I can show young girls in Italy that boxing is also a sport for women, not just men.

“I think today is proof of that.”

Underlining the challenge that women’s boxing still faces for recognition in some countries and the stereotypes that endure, Irie said that some people have the impression that women fighters “are violent or scary or aggressive”.

“That’s not the case,” she said. “I want to wipe out those aggressive images of boxers.”

Proud to be LGBT

Back in the ring, there was disappointment for Petecio, the 29-year-old world champion and favourite for the featherweight title.

The weight category was making its Olympic debut in women’s boxing.

Judges’ scorecards – which are now displayed after each round to make Olympic boxing more transparent – unanimously had the home fighter Irie ahead after round one.

Both boxers were letting their fists go in a lively and open contest at Kokugikan Arena, which is usually used for Japan’s national sport, sumo.

Petecio had the better of the second round and the third was also highly competitive.

However, it was Irie who got the nod from the judges, putting her hand over her mouth and crying.

Silver-medallist Petecio, who said that she was “proud to be part of the LGBT” community, was also emotional afterwards.

“It means a lot to me,” she said. “This medal is not just for me, it’s for my country, it’s for my coach, for my best friend who died this year.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • Chinese may be first in tourism revival: PM

    Cambodia's tourism industry is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travellers after Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 indicated that the Kingdom could soon throw open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from China. Cambodia Chinese

  • Four-pillar approach in reopening of tourism: PM

    Cambodia is drawing up a four-strategy approach to promptly restore domestic and international tourism activity and put the industry on a transition pathway to a sustainable and inclusive model that is resistant to future crises, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen. The prime minister made

  • Airline says ready for green light to reopen international tourism

    Sky Angkor Airline Co Ltd on September 21 said it is ready to transport South Korean and Chinese tourists to the Kingdom once the Cambodian government makes good on plans to reopen its borders to vaccinated travellers. The Siem Reap-based airline made the remark during a

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.

  • Cambodian bride ‘badly treated, held captive’ by Chinese man seeks help

    A Cambodian woman who travelled to China to marry a Chinese man there was “badly treated” by her husband’s family and then had to be rescued and will be returned to Cambodia to ensure her safety. The rescue operation came about after the 25-year-old