Rodriguez recalls De Vega’s last glorious performance

Published August 12, 2022, 11:01 AM

by Ellson Quismorio

A Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) official-turned-congressman was lucky enough to witness the final glorious performance of the late Lydia de Vega, the Filipino track and field legend who went by the moniker, “the fastest woman of Asia.”

Lydia de Vega (left) and Cagayan de Oro 2nd Rep. Rufus Rodriguez

Cagayan de Oro 2nd district Rep. Rufus Rodriguez recalled the moment like it was only yesterday.

Rodriguez said De Vega won multiple gold and bronze medals in the Asian Games, Southeast Asian Games and Asian Athletics Championship from 1981 to 1991, and represented the country in the 1984 and 1988 Summer Olympics.

She last competed in October 1994 in the Manila-Fujian Games, where she won the 100-meter event. “I was there,” Rodriguez told the Manila Bulletin.

“I had the privilege of cheering for her at the top of my voice in some of her international track events where she won gold medals, and stood proudly as our national anthem was played and the Philippine flag was raised as she stood victorious at the podium. I was then Region 10 PATAFA director,” said the veteran solon.

“Maraming salamat Lydia de Vega sa karangalan na ibinigay mo sa bansa (Thank you very much Lydia de Vega for the honor you gave to the country). Our prayers and condolences are with her family at this difficult time,” Rodriguez, chairman of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, added.

De Vega, 57, died on Wednesday, Aug. 10 after a four-year battle with breast cancer.

“We have lost a great athlete who was once called Asia’s fastest woman for ruling the 100-200-meter dash events. She did her country proud by bringing home multiple medals from competitions in the 1980s-1990s. A grateful nation is in grief,” the Mindanaoan said.