The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Thursday has approved the switching of national teams of fencer Maxine Esteban from the Philippine national team to the Ivory Coast in preparation of the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, France next year.
During its session in Mumbai, India, the IOC Executive Board had granted the requested exemption to a 3-year waiting period for Esteban, as it was approved by the Philippine Fencing Association (PFA) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
The PFA had already waived the 3-year waiting period requirement, which effectively allowed the 22-year-old Filipino to represent the Ivory Coast internationally. She had been given Ivorian citizenship.
“My new teammates were a warm bunch of sunshine. I was treated with much love, respect, and camaraderie. This lifted a heavy weight off my chest,” Esteban wrote in a Facebook post in July, after describing that changing countries was the “biggest decision” she made in her career.
“The year ahead will certainly be tough with the continuation of the Olympic qualifying events. However, I am confident of God's continuous grace and faithfulness, I am hoping for a qualification in Paris 2024,” she added.
The three-time Southeast Asian Games medalist already made the podium with her new country in her first African Championships held in Cairo, Egypt after winning the bronze medal in the individual foil.
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