Things could have been avoided.
In the realm of sports, there's so much more to being an athlete and representing the country.
Filipino–Ivorian fencer Maxine Esteban previously made headlines after revealing her decision to switch nationalities to pursue her Olympic dreams of representing the Ivory Coast.
Her eight-year journey with the Philippine national fencing team came to an unexpected and painful end, prompting her to share her side of the story.
Speaking with Noli Eala in One Ph's Power and Play on Saturday, Esteban expressed her deep disappointment and hurt at being unceremoniously removed from the national team roster without any prior notice.
“I did not give up on my country, I gave up on the federation because they gave up on me first, said Esteban. “The reality is, sobra akong nabastos because I was removed from the national team roster without even being given the courtesy of a written nor a face-to-face notice and I was a member of the national team for eight years with good standing.”
The news of her expulsion hit Esteban while she was recovering from a significant ACL injury sustained during the world championships, adding an extra layer of emotional turmoil.
The 39th-ranked fencer also highlighted what she perceived as a double standard within the federation.
Despite her commitment and achievements, she was removed from the national team under the pretext of not participating in qualifiers, while others who also skipped the qualifiers remained on the team.
“Mayroon din mga hindi sumali na mga nasa national team pa rin hanggang ngayon. The law should apply to all, if not, then none at all,” Esteban emphasized.
Despite writing multiple letters to the federation seeking an explanation and an audience to discuss her removal, Esteban claimed that her requests went unanswered. She believed that a simple audience with the board could have provided the clarity she sought.
“If the reinstatement was not possible, things could have been salvaged with a simple acceptance of my request for an audience because I just wanted to face the board and explain to me why they removed me even if they issued me an excuse letter,” said Esteban.
As she moves on from the issue, Esteban has been making waves in her push towards qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
She recently finished with a bronze medal in the Italian National Opens Qualifier in Bergamo, Italy after winning all six matches and then adding four more wins to progress to the semifinals.
Unfortunately, her impressive run came to an end at the semifinal stage.
Maxine seems to be another case of a top Filipino athlete who switched nationalities amid turmoil with the country’s sports federation.