SINGAPORE — Lydia de Vega said she will definitely return to the Philippines and possibly become a mentor to local athletes, but not in the near future as the legendary trackster is still busy with her current job coaching kids in a school here.
Upon the invitation of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association, the 50-year-old De Vega attended the athletics competition of the 28th Southeast Asian Games and saw how the Filipino team fared in the meet she used to dominate.
De Vega has been living in Singapore for a decade now, teaching young students, but intends to return to her motherland.
“May balak akong bumalik sa Pilipinas dahil ’yun ang bansang aking sinilangan, ika nga,” she said.
“Babalik at babalik ako sa Pilipinas.”
But not in the near future.
The multi-titled athlete once dubbed “Asia’s Sprint Queen” says she enjoys coaching young athletes, mostly children in Grades 3 to 6, and she also now also helps train differently-abled athletes.
“Open naman ako pero as of now, nag-eenjoy pa ako sa ginagawa ko coaching ’yung mga bata. Bakit hindi? Siguro kapag handa na akong bumalik sa Pilipinas at mag-coach, I will do that,” said De Vega.
The track legend was pleased to see the Philippines win the event she used to dominate.
Kayla Richardson won the 100-meter run in the 28th SEA Games, a first for the country since Elma Muros in the 1995 Chang Mai SEA Games. De Vega also won the same event in 1987.
“Natutuwa ako kasi for so many years, wala tayong mga atleta na nananalo sa 100 babae man o lalake. After me and Elma Muros, wala na. Ngayon, nakakatuwa kasi nakikita natin na ’yung programa ng Patafa, gumaganda dahil may nahahanap tayong mga bagong atleta,” said De Vega.