For Cavite 4th district Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., Asian track and field star Lydia de Vega “paved the way” for the country’s other great female athletes, including weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz.
“I condole with the family and loved ones of Lydia de Vega, a true Philippine sports heroine and icon,” Barzaga said in a statement Thursday morning, Aug. 11.
This was less than a day after it was reported that De Vega, 57, had passed away due to breast cancer.
“Lydia de Vega was among the first modern sports heroes that Filipinos looked up to. We basked in the pride that she gave us with her achievements as the ‘sprint queen’ of Asia,” he said.
“Her legacy of greatness will live on. This is evident in how she paved the way for the likes of Hidilyn Diaz in capturing the imagination of the young girls in every corner of the country through the glory achieved in sports,” reckoned Barzaga, chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Diaz became the first Filipino Olympic gold medalist in history during the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics when she took first place in the women’s 55-kilogram weightlifting category.
Diaz also won a silver medal in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics.
De Vega was a two-time Olympian; she represented the Philippines at the 1984 and 1988 Summer Olympics.