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Sports

Solis, former Asiad sprint queen, dies

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ILOILO CITY - Inocencia Solis, who emerged the fastest woman in Asia in 1958, died of diabetes on Nov. 4 at the Iloilo Mission Hospital. She was 69.

Solis hogged the headlines when she wowed spectators during the Asian Games in Tokyo in 1958 by clocking 12 minutes and 5 seconds in the 100-meter dash to bring home the gold.

A barrio lass from the sleepy village of Bolalacao in the central Iloilo town of New Lucena, she became an instant celebrity after her feat. The Philippine Sportswriters Association made her Athlete of the Year awardee in 1958.

Her passing was tragic because the honors that she gave to the country was never reciprocated in terms of government support. She died poor.

It took the government 40 years to again bestow another honor upon her — the Distinguished Filipino Woman Achiever in Sports award, which was given by then President Ramos during the Philippine Centennial Celebration.

Born on Innocence Day (Dec. 28) in 1932 to farmer parents Victorino Solis and the former Leonarda Silomenio, her running days started at the New Lucena Elementary School where she shone in several athletic competitions.

She also won top honors in athletics when she was a secondary student of the Sta. Barbara National High School. In 1950, she won three gold medals during the National Inter-Scholastic Athletic Association meet, establishing national records in the 100-meter and 200-meter runs and in long jump.

Rex Salvillla, chair of the Western Visayas Historical Foundation, said Solis held the national record in the 100-meter dash for 12 years, 200-meter dash for 15 years and long jump for seven years.

"I knew of no one who held national records that long," remarked Salvilla.

Seeing her potentials, the Cebu Institute of Technology offered her full scholarship. She went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She worked as a school teacher and at the same time as athletic coach in Cebu for some time until the city government of Caloocan recruited her in the early 1960s. — By Nereo C. Lujan

ASIAN GAMES

ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

BARBARA NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL

BY NEREO C

CEBU INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

DISTINGUISHED FILIPINO WOMAN ACHIEVER

ELEMENTARY EDUCATION

ILOILO MISSION HOSPITAL

INNOCENCE DAY

INOCENCIA SOLIS

LEONARDA SILOMENIO

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