Philippines mourns track legend Lydia de Vega, 57

Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino Facebook
Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino Facebook

Manila, Philippines, August 11, 2022: The President of the Philippine Olympic Committee, Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, has led the tributes to sprint legend Lydia de Vega-Mercado, who died on Wednesday, August 10. She was 57.

“Another sad day for PH sports,” said the POC President. “Although we have lost a great icon, however, she made an imprint on the hearts and minds of all the people she inspired. 

“Her story will always be a success - a story to all athletes that Filipinos are capable of being in the pedestal, specially to those who dream and pursue it.”

Lydia de Vega-Mercado died on Wednesday after a battle with breast cancer. Her daughter Stephanie Mercado announced her mother’s death in a Facebook post late Wednesday, the Inquirer reported.

“On behalf of our family, it is with absolute grief that I announce the death of my mother, Lydia De Vega, this evening, August 10, 2022, at the Makati Medical Center.  She fought the very good fight and is now at peace,” the post said.

De Vega was once the fastest woman in Asia, winning the 100-meter gold medal in the 1982 and 1986 Asian Games and ruling the sprint double in the Asian Athletics Championship in 1983 and 1987. She is also a nine-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist. De Vega retired from active competition in 1994.

Her last public appearance was when she served as one of the Philippines’ flag bearers during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games opening ceremony.

The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association extended its condolences to the family of de Vega, who was one of the best athletes the country has ever produced.

“On behalf of the men and women of the Patafa, our deepest condolences and prayers to the family of the great Lydia de Vega. We lost one of our own, one of our best but her spirit will live on in our hearts,” said athletics chief Terry Capistrano.