Fencer Maxine Esteban is in a celebratory mood.
The 21-year-old Esteban recently graduated summa cum laude after finishing her Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences, with Major in Leadership and Communications degree at the University of Pennsylvania.
Soon, Esteban is expected to take care of business and get comfortable in her new environment after recently switching allegiance from the Philippines to the West African country of Côte d’Ivoire or Ivory Coast.
“Hotter by 1 degree,” wrote Esteban in her recent Instagram post.
Esteban is awaiting the decision of the world fencing body FIE to waive her three-year residency period as a naturalized athlete, so that she can already represent the West African country in her bid to make it to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. “She wrote the Philippine Fencing Association and asked for her to be released from the list under the FIE and allowed to be accepted by the Ivory Coast Fencing Association some two months ago,” said Philippine Federation Association president Richard Gomez in an interview with the Manila Standard.
Gomez said he has since written FIE CEO Natalie Rodriguez and requested for the FIE to waive the three-year waiting period.
Doing so, according to Gomez, will allow Esteban to “continue, without interruption all training and participation in all FIE competitions, for her personal improvement and goal achievement.”
“My immediate transfer will allow me to continue with my training and competition without interruption, as well as share my skills and talents with a smaller fencing community in Côte d’Ivoire,” wrote Esteban in a letter sent to POC president and Tagaytay City Mayor Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, who in turn, has given his blessing to the fencer.
The former Ateneo de Manila standout, who was cut from the PH national team early this year due to injury, once reached a world ranking of no. 62, the highest position achieved by any Filipino fencer.
She last played for the Philippines in the World Cup in Paris in January this year, finishing 120th among 212 fencers. This was six months after she suffered an ACL injury at the World Championships in Egypt.
Esteban is now preparing for the Coupe Du Monde and Coupe du Monde Par Equipes in Tbilisi, Georgia.