AFTER going through a rigid screening process, former Asian Games sprint queen Mona Sulaiman, evergreen Grandmaster Eugene Torre and mulltititled swimmer Haydee Coloso-Espino have been chosen to banner the second batch of 17 honorees to the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame.
“I am pleased to announce the latest 17 athletes who have made it to the honor roll of the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame,” Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman Ricardo Garcia told Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at Shakey’s Malate.
Garcia made the announcement during the session, presented by San Miguel Corp, Shakey’s, Accel, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., a day after the selection and screening committee that he headed together with Philippine Olympic Committee President Jose Cojuangco Jr. made its decision during a meeting at the PSC boardroom at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.
Besides Sulaiman, Torre and Coloso-Espino, the other awardees are former world weightlifting champion Salvador del Rosario, national basketball players Ed Ocampo, Mariano Tolentino and Kurt Bachmann, tennis players Felicisimo Ampon, Johnny Jose and Raymundo Deyro, as well as athletic standouts Inocencia Solis and Isaac Gomez, shooters Adolfo “Chito” Feliciano and Martin Gison, and swimmers Jacinto Cayco, Gerardo “Ral” Rosario and Mohamad Pala.
Sulaiman was the toast of the 1962 Jakarta Asian Games, sweeping the 100 and 200 meters, while anchoring the Philippine squad to the women’s 4×100-meter gold medal.
Still playing actively at 64, Torre, who ruled the National Open in 2014, was outstanding during the 1974 World Chess Olympiad in Nice, France, going undefeated on Board 1 with nine wins and one draw on the way to bagging a bronze medal.
Coloso-Espino bagged three gold and five silver medals in three consecutive Asian Games from 1954 (Manila), 1958 (Tokyo) to the 1962 Jakartra edition of the continental sports showcase.
In 1970 del Rosario ruled the flyweight division of the world weightlifting championships in Akron, Ohio, and copped a silver medal in the Thailand Asian Games.
Garcia said the new honorees, who competed for the country from 1924 to 1974, were picked based on the nominations by representatives from national sports associations, sports media and other sports-oriented entities with a point system based on their performance in the world championships, Asian Games, Asian championships and Southeast Asian Games.
A gold medalist in the world championships and Olympics earns 10 points, a silver eight points and a bronze six, while an Asian Games gold and silver are six and four points, respectively, and a SEA Games gold two points, according to Garcia.
The new set of Hall of Fame awardees will be recognized and inducted during the PSC’s 26th anniversary dinner on January 25 at the Century Park Sheraton Hotel.
On top of a plaque of appreciation, the new Hall of Fame inductees will also receive an award of P100,00 based on Republic Act 8757 of 1999, which created the Hall of Fame, he added.
The new awardees will join the ranks of the 10 pioneer Hall of Fame awardees, namely, world boxing champions Pancho Villa, Ceferino Garcia, and Gabriel “Flash” Elorde, amateur boxer Jose Villanueva and Anthony Villanueva, the country’s first Olympic silver medalist, tracksters Simeon Toribio and Miguel White, swimmer Teofilo Yldefonso, basketball legend Caloy Loyzaga and the 1954 men’s basketall team that garnered the bronze medal during the 1954 world championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The first batch was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2010, and Garcia said henceforth they intend to make the selection every other year for the succeeding awardees.
Like the first awardees, he said they will ask the new ones to share their prized mementos and memorabilia of their exploits to the public, which will be housed in a special room inside the historic Rizal Memorial Coliseum along Pablo Ocampo Street (formerly Vito Cruz).
“We hope to transform the Rizal Memorial into a Philippine Sports Hall of Fame shrine for these athletes who gave us pride and honor,” the PSC chairman said.