The life and times of legendary sprint queen Lydia de Vega will be celebrated in the coming San Miguel Corporation-Philippine Sportswriters Association Annual Awards Night three weeks from now at the grand ballroom of the Diamond Hotel.
The late track superstar is going to be elevated into the PSA Hall of Fame in recognition of her astounding achievements in Philippine track and field history.
The special honor and tribute to one of the greatest Filipino athletes ever will be bestowed by the country’s oldest media organization during its 6 March gala night presented by the Philippine Sports Commission and Cignal TV, and with able support from the Philippine Olympic Committee, Tagaytay City Mayor Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino, MILO, Smart, MVP Sports Foundation, Rain or Shine, 1Pacman Rep. Mikee Romero, Philippine Basketball Association, OKBet and ICTSI.
De Vega, who twice reigned as Asia’s sprint queen, passed away last August following her long battle with the Big C.
During her prime though, Diay was almost unbeatable.
The charming runner from Meycauayan, Bulacan was acknowledged as the fastest woman in Asia in the 80’s following her golden run in the women’s 100-meter event of the 1982 and 1986 Asian Games in New Delhi, India, and Seoul, South 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 who shot to prominence as a 17-year-old lass who bagged back-to-back gold medals in the 200-meter and 400-meter 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 Manila edition of the biennial meet.
She also owns four golds in the Asian trackfest 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.
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.