Philippine boxer Nesthy Petecio has dedicated her historic Olympic triumph to the LGBT+ community after becoming the country’s first female boxer to win a medal.
Ms Petecio, who was defeated by Japan’s Sena Irie in the women’s featherweight competition on Tuesday, called on LGBT+ individuals to “go forward” and fight for their rights after finishing in silver.
According to a translation of her speech, the lesbian athlete told reporters that her silver medal win was “for the LGBTQ community,” ESPN reported.
“I am proud to be part of the LGBTQ community. Go forward, fight! This win is also for you”, she was also reported as saying after the medal ceremony.
She added: “Whatever your gender is, as long as you have a dream, keep fighting.”
Ms Petecio, who is reportedly well known at home in the Philippines, had carried an LGBT+ flag earlier in the competition, and is among dozens of LGBT+ athletes to medal at the Tokyo 2020 games.
She said after winning her semi-finals match that it was far more important to make her family proud, than to make history, because it was her “father’s dream, and it’s also my dream”.
“It’s not just for me. It’s for my country and the Filipinos that prayed for me,” she added.
The Philippines, where boxing is closely followed, has not won an Olympic medal in the male-dominated sport since Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco won silver in Atlanta in 1996.
At Tokyo, the country won its first ever gold medal at an Olympics after weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz triumphed in her 55kg competition.
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