TEN legends led by Asia's sprint queen Lydia de Vega-Mercado were formally enshrined in the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday night at the Philippine International Convention Center.
Filipino bowlers Rafael ‘Paeng’ Nepomuceno and Olivia ‘Bong’ Coo, and former world boxing champion Erbito Salavarria were also part of the third batch of Hall of Famers enshrined to the prestigious group.
Most of the attention, though, was on De Vega, who made a rare public appearance in Manila as she has spent the last 14 years working as an athletics coach at a secondary school in Singapore.
“Wala man akong hinandang speech. 'Nung nakita ko ‘yung trophy na ‘to, sabi ko, it’s a symbol of, ‘I’m a champion. I’m a winner.’ Ang trophy na ‘to ay punong-puno ng sakripisyo, paghihirap, at pagmamahal dahil hindi lahat ng atleta ay maaring tumayo sa harap ninyo sa oras na ito,” said former Asian Games gold medalist.
Other inductees were Filomeno ‘Boy’ Codinera of baseball and softball, Ben Arda of golf, Lita Dela Rosa of bowling, Loreto Carbonell and Sen. Ambrosio Padilla of basketball, and Josephine dela Vina of athletics.