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Nesthy Petecio, Aira Villegas punch Paris Olympics tickets

Nesthy Petecio and Aira Villegas are heading to the 2024 Paris Olympics after advancing to the women's 57kg finals and 50kg semifinals, respectively, of the 1st Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Busto Arsizio, Italy on early Tuesday (Manila time).

The Filipina boxing duo became the fifth and sixth Philippine athletes to qualify to the Summer Games after fellow boxer Eumir Marcial, pole vaulter EJ Obiena, and gymnasts Carlos Yulo and Aleah Finnegan.

The 31-year-old Petecio prevailed over Esra Yildiz of Turkey, 4-1, to advance to the finals and clinch one of the two Paris Olympics spots in her category. By punching her way to the quadrennial event, Petecio also earned a shot at redemption following a silver medal finish in the previous Tokyo Olympics.

Villegas, meanwhile, dominated Zlatislava Chukanova of Bulgaria with a unanimous decision win, 5-0, during their quarterfinal bout. Four Olympic spots are up for grabs in Villegas' weight class.

Now, both Petecio and Villegas can even go for gold. 

Petecio will take on Julia Szeremeta of Poland in the gold medal match while Villegas will still have two matches in the tournament against former Olympic bronze medalist Ingrit Valencia of Colombia in the semifinals and either Sabina Bobokulova and Maxi Carina Kloetzer in the finals. —VAL, GMA Integrated News