^

Sports

Diay’s unfulfilled Olympic dream

Lito Tacujan - The Philippine Star
Diayâs unfulfilled Olympic dream
In fact, Lydia de Vega’s world has been on hold. Eight years ago, in the prime of her youth, De Vega was being groomed to be a world beater if she were to concentrate on the 400-meter and there were those who said that she could reach that potential late in the decade. Perhaps, now in the Games.
STAR / File

SEOUL – She no longer stokes the fires of dream that would make her a world champion, particularly now that she feels like just one of the girls when ranged against the very best in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

In fact, Lydia de Vega’s world has been on hold. Eight years ago, in the prime of her youth, De Vega was being groomed to be a world beater if she were to concentrate on the 400-meter and there were those who said that she could reach that potential late in the decade. Perhaps, now in the Games.

De Vega, 23, opted to concentrate on the glamour events of the sprints and became the queen of her turf this side of the globe as Asia’s fastest girl.

But when the Big Event – the Olympiad – comes along, there always comes that nagging thought that she might have been in the realm of great runners, had she decided to work on the 400-m.

“Ayoko, masakit para sa akin. They said I have the built and (the legs for the 400-meter) pero hindi para sa akin,” said De Vega.

Among those who tried to convince her to be a middle distance ace was Australian coach Anthony Benson.

Those were turbulent times with Benson and Michael Keon, the old czar of sports, but De Vega and her father-trainer stood on their decision to tackle the sprints and she found herself in the firmament of Asian athletics.

Lydia bettered the best times in the 400-m in the Asian Games and SEAG at age 16, showing great potential for an Olympic podium finish late in the decade probably now in the Seoul Olympics.

“We’ve come to realize that Lydia could be world-class, which by the way she did not fulfill. She became Asia’s fastest but in the 100-m and 200-m in the Olympics, she was eliminated,” said Keon.

She had long given up the dreams of winning a medal in the Olympics and De Vega now talks of getting into the semifinals of 100-m with consistent 11 seconds flat.

That’s the best she could do although it’s so way off the 10.49 world mark of Florence Griffith-Joyner.

“They don’t intimidate me. I’ve raced with them in the past, I am more scared of myself,” she said.

Her groin injury has been a recurrent one and doctors said it could be a growing muscle deeply embedded. It has caused her tremendous pain and now beginning to affect her mentally.

“When it comes, it hurts so much, natatakot na ako,” she said.

She had done 11.06 on a standing start on few occasions she did time trial for the Seoul run. Otherwise she did endurance buildup since taking two competitive runs, in the Osaka indoor and an invitational in Taipei last March where she had 11.6.

“Everything depends on my performance here,” said De Vega in charting the course her career would take. An offer to train under American coach Jim Crampton of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut was turned down because she didn’t want to try it out in the West Coast anew.

There’s also the constant pressures of her personal life with her fiance of four years. Marriage has been a reality she couldn’t simply put as in the past.

Someone mentioned that she could continue her career even after motherhood as in Mary Decker Slaney’s case.

“When I have a baby, I’ll settle down as a baby-sitter,” she said.

DIAY

Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with