Maxine Esteban has switched federations from the Philippines to the Cote D’Ivoire in hopes of reaching the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The 22-year-old Ateneo product’s move to represent a new country has been approved by the Philippine Fencing Association, which has also waived the three-year residency rule.
Esteban will now represent the African nation in every competition.
“We support her change of nationality representation to Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) where she is also a naturalized citizen,” read the statement of PFA president Richard Gomez, who is also the representative of the fourth district of Leyte.
“As we believe in and support the Olympic spirit that sports know no nationalities, we are happy for Maxine for her decision, and as such we are requesting for the FIE to waive the 3-year waiting period of her representation in Côte d’Ivoire so that she can continue, without interruption all training and participation in all FIE competitions, for her personal improvement and goal achievement.”
Currently, Esteban is the 84th-ranked fencer in the world. She was not part of the Philippine team that competed in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games due to her just recovering from an ACL tear she sustained last year in the world championships.
The Philippine Olympic Committee has also received notice of Esteban’s decision.
Esteban has yet to respond to inquiries regarding the matter as she is currently in Tbilisi for training and competition.