MANILA, Philippines – Sprint queen Lydia de Vega will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame of the Philippine Sportswriters Association during its Annual Awards Night on March 6 at the Diamond Hotel.
The late track and field superstar, who died in August last year after a years-long battle with cancer, will be recognized for her astounding achievements in Philippine athletics history.
Fondly called Diay, De Vega was almost unbeatable during her prime.
The charming runner from Meycauayan, Bulacan was acknowledged as the fastest woman in Asia in the 1980s following her golden run in the women’s 100m event of the 1982 and 1986 Asian Games in New Delhi, India and Seoul, Korea, respectively.
Long legged and wearing her signature pony-tailed hair, De Vega blasted her way to the finish line ahead of India’s PT Usha both times in a dominant performance that capped their storied rivalry.
Among the prominent discoveries of the Palarong Pambansa, De Vega was a proud product of Project Gintong Alay. She shot to prominence as a 17-year-old lass and bagged back-to-back gold medals in the 200m and 400m events of the 1981 Southeast Asian Games in Manila.
Her legend grew from there as the Far Eastern University alumna stamped her class in the SEA Games, the Asian Athletics Championships, and the Asiad.
In all, De Vega won nine SEA Games gold medals, including her memorable run before a jampacked, wildly-cheering crowd at the Rizal Memorial Track and Field Stadium in the 1991 edition of the biennial meet.
She also owns four golds in the Asian Championships aside from the two golds she won in the Asiad.
De Vega was likewise a two-time Olympian as part of the Philippine team to the 1984 Los Angeles and 1988 Seoul Games, respectively.
She entered public service after hanging her running shoes in 1994, winning as councilor in her province of Bulacan.
Until her death, De Vega had been based in Singapore for more than a decade where she taught athletics and physical education in a private school.
Her induction in the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame in 2018 and as one of the flag bearers during the opening of the 2019 Philippine SEA Games were among Diay’s last public appearances. – Rappler.com
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