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Lydia de Vega, Asia's 'sprint queen,' honored in Palaro

ILOCOS SUR, Philippines – Lydia de Vega, who was once considered Asia's fastest female runner, was honored at the Palarong Pambansa 2018 for her "valuable contributions" to Philippine sports.

Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones handed the plaque for the Palarong Pambansa Parangal Lifetime Achievement Award to De Vega's daughter, Stephanie, who is a volleyball athlete.

Stephanie said her mother could not come because she's currently coaching in a Singapore tournament.

But Stephanie read her mother's message to the young athletes gathered in Ilocos Sur. (IN PHOTOS: The colorful parade at Palarong Pambansa 2018)

In her message, De Vega urged young athletes not to give up on their dreams, recalling that she failed in her first attempt to get a Palaro gold medal.

"Kapag nagsimula, huwag kang susuko sa gitna. Tapusin mo all the way, manindigan ka para sa pangarap mo," De Vega said.

(If you've already started, don't give up halfway. You need to finish it all the way, stand by your dreams.)

Aside from the plaque, De Vega was also given P100,000 from the DepEd and Ilocos Sur Governor Ryan Luis Singson.

DepEd Undersecretary Tonisito Umali said the award seeks to "recognize the achievements of our athletes " and to inspire future athletes.

De Vega was first recognized in international athletics during the 1981 Asian Games held in Manila, where she brought home gold medals in the 200-meter-dash and 400-meter-dash events and broke records.

She still holds the best record in the 100-meter-dash of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, with 11.28 seconds.

De Vega, in her entire athletics career, notched 9 gold medals in the SEA Games, two gold medals in the Asian Games, and 4 gold medals in Asian T & F meets. – Rappler.com