Hidilyn Diaz’s historic Olympic gold-medal win cemented her name into the country’s fabled sports venue as the weightlifting gym at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC) will be named after her.
The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) approved the board resolution granting facilities in the RMSC to be renamed after Philippine sports heroes.
Aside from the Hidilyn Diaz weightlifting gym, new names of other venues include the Felicisimo Ampon Tennis Court, Teofilo Yldefonso Swimming Pool, and the Simeon Toribio Track Stadium.
“These athletes have given the honor to the country with their work in sports, we hope to keep their legacies alive for this and next generations,” said PSC chairman William “Butch” Ramirez.
“We want to pique the interest of the people who will read about or visit the facility. Who is Teofilo Yldefonso? What did Felicisimo Ampon do that this venue is named to him?” explained Ramirez.
Diaz also personally contributed to her sport as she will donate P1 million worth of weightlifting equipment to PSC that she hopes will also be distributed to local government units.
Yldefonso won the country’s first Olympic medal when he captured the bronze in the 200m breaststroke in the 1928 Amsterdam Games. He duplicated the feat in the same swimming event in the 1932 Los Angeles Games, making him the country’s first multiple Olympic medalist.
Toribio was also the first Filipino Olympic medalist in athletics when he bagged a bronze in the men’s high jump of the 1932 Los Angeles Games.
Tagged as the “Father of Philippine Tennis,” Ampon competed in Grand Slam events from 1946 to 1953. He was barely five feet yet he impressed in the international stage, ruling several tournaments including the 1934 Far Eastern Games and the 1950 Pan American Games.
According to Ramirez, this is only the first round of renaming the venues in honor of the country’s sports legends.
The country’s government sports agency will continue to build the Philippine Sports Museum, which will house memorabilia of a number of sports heroes in a projected two-story building.
Philippine sports is on a rise after Diaz, also the country’s first female Olympic medalist when she won a silver in the 2016 Rio Games, led the country’s most successful Olympic campaign in the Tokyo Games.