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Nino dominates for Jr. Olympics championship

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Nino dominates for Jr. Olympics championship

Destiny Nino, left, is accompanied by trainer Lisa Lopez after winning he junior female 95-pound division championship in the 2017 National Junior Olympics last Thursday.

Photo contributed/

POSTED July 3, 2017 11:29 p.m.

Sparring boys and bigger girls served Destiny Nino well in her first appearance in the 2017 National Junior Olympics held at the Charleston Civic Center in West Virginia last Thursday.
The 15-year-old won handily in her lone bout, outpointing Neildra Harvey of Round Rock, Ariz. to claim the crown in the junior female 95-pound division.
Nino has had trouble finding sparring partners, so she travels up and down the Central Valley to work out with boys close to her weight and older, bigger girls.
“I’ve put in a lot of hard work,” she said. “I spar with boys and girls who are much heavier, and it helped me a lot. (Harvey) was a little bit bigger than me so I was familiar with it.’
Nino is an incoming sophomore at East Union. She competes for the school’s cross country and track teams to stay in shape and improve her stamina.
Her path to the Junior Olympics was clear, as there were no other entrants in the junior female 95-pound class in the Central Valley state and regional tournaments. Nino, a two-time state Silver Gloves champion who began boxing when she was 8, couldn’t wait to finally showcase her skills in West Virginia.
She was even more dominant than the 5-0 final indicates, knocking down her opponent for two eight-counts.
“I was excited and I was nervous,” she said. “It felt great to do well in something that I love.”
Nino plans to next participate in the Golden Gloves Junior Nationals in Mesquite, Nev. on July 19-22. It’s another stepping stone toward her ultimate goal of competing in the 2020 Summer Olympics.
She’s the daughter of Diana Mathew and Angel Nino. The elder Nino serves as her trainer, but Lisa Lopez of Salinas was in her corner for the Junior Olympics.
“I like competing and doing something that other girls don’t normally do,” Nino said. “And being good at it makes it even more special.”

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