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Maxine Esteban “Hopeful” For PH Fencers to Reach Paris 2024

Esteban joins world-class athletes in April, eyeing an Olympic Games debut for Cote d’Ivoire, but her heart still proudly represents the Philippines.
Maxine Esteban
James Francisco

Maxine Esteban achieves a lifelong dream, qualifying for Paris’ 2024 Olympic Games as the first homegrown Filipina fencer, though now, she represents Cote d’Ivoire’s (Ivory Coast) orange, white, and green stripes. 

The recent International Handel Cup European U23 Circuit Championship victor competed in the final Olympic Qualifier leg in Washington D.C., United States, last Saturday, March 16, 2024, accumulating enough points to secure her slot despite falling short in the second round.

Instagram: @lapolicedusport and @themaxfactor

Esteban now looks to the quadrennial tourney with seasoned Italian fencing mentor Andrea Magro by her side, who is responsible for the success of several Olympic gold medalists. 

Clinching the lone African singles slot in the Women’s Olympic Foil event, the 23-year-old credits the West African nation for her success but speaks highly of the Philippines as her home.

“This is for Cote d’Ivoire, the country that embraced me, believed in me, and supported me all the way, and this is for the Philippines, the country my heart will always beat proud,” she mentioned in an Instagram post.

Esteban departed from the national team roster last year following unannounced expulsion from the program—another case of a top Filipino athlete switching nationalities due to “turmoil with the country’s sports federation.” Despite not bearing the Philippine flag come April, she hopes to inspire “those who dream and have at one point almost given up, to persist amidst storms and rough waters.”

“I am praying that the Philippines will be able to qualify more fencers in April,” she added.

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