Fencing: Tolentino wishes Esteban luck in Paris

Filipina fencer Maxine Esteban will be representing Ivory Coast’s orange, white and green in Paris but for the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), she’ll always be a source of pride and honor for her native country.

“We in the POC are very happy that Maxine, our athlete, has qualified for the Paris Olympics,” POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said on Tuesday, March 19. “She may not be representing Team Philippines, but we are so happy for her.”

Maxine Esteban {photo credit: Maxine Esteban Facebook]
Maxine Esteban {photo credit: Maxine Esteban Facebook]

“So Maxine, do your best to win the gold,” Tolentino added.

Esteban, 23 and who has since switched federation last year, grabbed the lone women’s foil singles slot for Africa last Sunday morning in a final Olympic qualifier in Washington DC.

Esteban thanked Tolentino for signing her transfer to Ivory Coast’s national Olympic committee.

“I’d like to thank my parents and my entire family for their support and for those who helped to make sure the door would be always open for me to continue chasing my dreams, like POC president Abraham Tolentino, who chose to extend a helping hand when I needed it the most,” Esteban said.

Tolentino said seeing Esteban compete for another nation pinches the heart, he believes she’ll always be a Filipino in heart and soul.

“We want Maxine pursue her Olympic dream … and now, she’s there,” Tolentino said.

The Paris Games are set July 26 to August 11 with the Philippines having qualified six athletes so far—Olympics returnees Ernest John “EJ” Obiena (men’s pole vault), Eumir Felix Marcial (boxing), Nesthy Petecio (boxing) and Carlos Yulo (gymnastics) and first-time qualifiers Aleah Finnegan (gymnastics) and Aira Villegas (boxing).

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