THE colorful life of legendary sprint queen Lydia De Vega will be celebrated during the San Miguel Corp.-Philippine Sportswriters Association (SMC-PSA) Annual Awards Night at the grand ballroom of the Diamond Hotel.
The late track superstar will be enshrined in 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 March 6 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 the International Container Terminal Services Inc.
De Vega, who twice reigned as Asia’s sprint queen, passed away last August following her long battle with cancer.
During her prime though, Diay, as she was fondly called, was almost unbeatable.
The charming runner from Meycauayan, Bulacan, was acknowledged as “Asia’s Fastest Woman” in the 1980s following her golden run in the women’s 100 meters at the 1982 and 1986 Asian Games in New Delhi and Seoul.
Long legged and sporting her signature pony-tailed long black hair, De Vega blasted her way to the finish line ahead of India’s PT Usha in both Asian Games 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 at the Manila 1981 Southeast Asian Games.
Her legend grew from there as the Far Eastern University alumna stamped her class in the SEA Games, Asian Athletics Championships and the Asian Games.
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 owned four golds in the Asian championships besides the two golds she won in the Asian Games.
De Vega was also a two-time Olympian—1984 Los Angeles and 1988 Seoul.
She entered public service after hanging her running shoes in 1994, winning as councilor in her province of Bulacan.
Until her death, De Vega was based in Singapore for more than a decade where she taught athletics and physical education in a private school.
Her induction to 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.