Asia’s former sprint queen Lydia de Vega-Mercado and bowling icons Paeng Nepomuceno and Bong Coo led the 10 awardees enshrined to the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday night at the PICC.
“It’s not easy to be an athlete and it’s not easy to win. It is difficult to do all the things that can make one achieve a very rewarding award like this,’’ said De Vega-Mercado, who came home from her coaching duties in Singapore.
“I’m thankful that you have chosen me to be inducted in the Hall of Fame. This is one of the best awards that I received as a former athlete,’’ added the fastest woman in the continent during the 80s.
Coo thanked her family who introduced her to the sport during the “trying times of her life.’’ while Nepomuceno, a recipient of countless local and international accolades felt proud by saying that “it is an honor to be recognized in your own country by your own people.”
The three sports heroes joined the elite group of Hall of famers, which now has 37 inducted awardees since it was first held in 2010. Also present and inducted were boxing champ Erbito Salavarria, who held both the WBC and WBA flyweight belts during his prime.
Posthumously enshrined were Filomeno Codinera (baseball/softball), Josephine dela Vina (athletics), Loreto Carbonell (basketball), Benjamin Arda (golf), Lita dela Rosa (bowling) and Sen. Ambrosio Padilla (basketball).
Philippine Sports Commission chair William Ramirez congratulated all the awardees and extolled the virtues of hard work and dedication in his speech emphasizing, “it is love for sport and country that makes someone a legend.”
The Philippine Sports Hall of Fame was created by virtue of Republic Act 8757, with representatives from the Philippine Olympic Committee, Games and Amusements Board, national sports associations and two other private groups.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas, GAB chairman Baham Mitra, Philippine Olympians Association president Akiko Thomson-Guevara were also present during the event.
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