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(C) Maxine Esteban


Bambol wishes Maxine Esteban success in Paris

Olympics-bound Maxine Esteban will represent Ivory Coast’s orange, white, and green in Paris, but for the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), she will 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. “She may not be representing Team Philippines, but we are so happy for her.

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

Esteban, 23, who switched federations last year, secured 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 ensure the door would always be 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 tugs at the heartstrings, but he believes she will always be a Filipino at heart and soul.

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

The Paris Games are set for 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), along with first-time qualifiers Aleah Finnegan (gymnastics) and Aira Villegas (boxing).

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