PH fencing group congratulates Esteban for clinching Olympics slot

By Jean Malanum

March 18, 2024, 12:02 pm Updated on March 19, 2024, 5:18 pm

<p>Maxine Isabel Esteban<em> (Photo taken from her Facebook page) </em></p>

Maxine Isabel Esteban (Photo taken from her Facebook page) 

MANILA – The Philippine Fencing Association (PFA) welcomed the news of Maxine Isabel Esteban qualifying for the Paris Olympics this July, wishing her "all the best" in the Games, said president Rene Gacuma in an interview on Monday.

"Good luck and all the best!" commented national coach Amatov Canlas.

Esteban, a member of the Philippine team from 2016 to 2022, earned a slot in women's foil as a naturalized citizen of Ivory Coast.

"I am at a loss for words…This journey is truly a testimony of God’s faithfulness. Today, I am in awe of His love for me and I am grateful He has carried me through. For all the 2nd chances, opened windows, miraculous feats, and generous provisions, thank you Heavenly Father. The significance of the Olympic stage, for an OLY, is not the event. It is what it symbolizes… unwavering passion and discipline. May I inspire those who dream and have at one point almost given up, to persist amidst storms and rough waters," Esteban posted on her Facebook page on March 16.

"This is for Cote d’Ivoire, the country that embraced me, believed in me, and supported me all the way, and for the Philippines, the country my heart will always beat proud," she added.

The 23-year-old Esteban is currently No. 37 in the International Fencing Federation women's foil rankings with 40.250 points.

She won the individual foil bronze medal at the African Fencing Championships in Cairo, Egypt on June 19-23, 2023.

During her stint in the Philippine team, Esteban competed in the Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) thrice, winning the team silver in 2021 (Vietnam), the team bronze in 2019 (Philippines), and individual bronze in 2017 (Malaysia).

She won two medals at the FIE Tournoi Satellite -- a bronze in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (2022) and a silver in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2018, the same year she pocketed a bronze at the FEI Junior World Cup in Guatemala.  

In another statement Tuesday, the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) said it also hopes for the best for Esteban.

“She may not be representing Team Philippines, but we are so happy for her,” POC president Abraham Tolentino in said. “So Maxine, do your best to win the gold."

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

Boxers Aira Villegas, Nesthy Petecio and Eumir Marcial; World No. 2 pole vaulter EJ Obiena; and gymnasts Carlo Yulo and Aleah Finnegan are the Philippine qualifiers so far to the Paris Games scheduled July 26 to Aug. 11. (PNA)