Chasing Lydia De Vega
SPORTS EYE - Raffy T. Uytiepo (The Freeman) - March 12, 2019 - 12:00am

In a previous column, I mentioned of a certain Fil-Am sprinter Kristina Knoll who is heralded to be the next Lydia De Vega. After winning the gold in the 100-meter dash in the just concluded 2019 Ayala Philippine Athletics Championship in the City of Ilagan, Knoll blasted fellow US-based sprinters Zion Nelson and Kayla Richardson to win the 200 meter run in 23:63 to claim the title as the fastest woman of the meet.

Nelson clocked 24:03 while Richardson timed 24:51. Knoll almost broke Lydia De Vega’s record in the same event of 23:25 which Lydia posted in the 1987 Southeast Asian (SEA)  Games. Wow, that’s 32 years ago.  Lydia also holds the century dash national record of 11:28.  Knoll said Lydia’s record on both distances stood for so long and promised to break them soon.  Knoll’s best personal mark in the 200 is 23:23 and 11:43 in the 100m.

“Give me a couple more races and that record is gone” said Knoll. “Murag hambugera ni si Knott, pero naa sad ikabuga”. Knott won a  total of three gold medals if  you include the 4x100m relay. Well, let’s wait and see if she could do it.  Another Fil-Am Natalie Uy also made waves as she shattered the pole vault record with her 4:12m which she accomplished on her first try.  Uy, thus broke the Philippine mark set by Deborah Samson in the 1981 Invitational Championships in Cerritos, USA.  The 24-year old Uy is a former standout at Eastern Michigan.

Not in our house

I wanted to proceed to Iloilo from Manila upon the invitation of Iloilo track coaches to witness the 2019 Philippine National Youth Games-Batang Pinoy at the Iloilo Sports Complex.  I always root for IloIlo (coming from the city) especially in athletics which produced some of the best runners like Olympians Herman Suizo, Vertek Buenavista and Rene Herrera and SEA Games veterans Jimmy Dela Torre, Sean Gueverra, John Lozada,  Ernie Candelario and Julius Sermona. As expected, Iloilo harvested 57 gold, 49 silver and 44 bronze medals to dethrone Visayas Leg champion Cebu City which wound up second with a 42-55-03 medal haul.  Cebu Province was third.  Well, coach Noel Diel said “Indi sa amon balay” (not in our house).

NOTES: Another example of homecourt advantage is the triumph of the Cebu Country Club in the PAL Interclub.  Cebu is only the second team in 31 years to win the overall championship while playing in a lower division.  Congratulations guys!

Did you know?

JOE LOUIS  World heavy weight boxing champion  signed for Liverpool football club but never played a first-team match

FRED PERRY Britain’s greatest ever tennis champion, signed for Arsenal Football Club.

GERRY MARSDEN lead singer of the band Gerry and the Pacemakers was a good friend of Bill Shankly, manager of Liverpool FC.  In 1963, Marsden gave Shankly a tape with the group’s version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein song “ You’ll Never Walk Alone”. Shankly played the song on the club coach as they toured the Continent.  The coach liked the song so much that it became the club’s theme.   Gerry and the Pacemakers are responsible for hits like “Don’t Let Sun Catch You Crying” and “Ferry Cross the Mersey”.  I was able to watch the group when they performed at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City a few years back.

VICTOR OLADIPO of the Indiana Pacers was selected to the LA All-Star Game in 2018 and participated in the Slam Dunk Contest.  Oladipo borrowed Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman’s mask and performed a double-pump tomahawk, but was eliminated in the first round. After the Rising Stars Challenge, Oladipo was stunned when he spotted movie star Jamie Foxx who was his idol, in the parking lot.  Foxx called Oladipo and asked him to sing a few lines from “A Song For You” (The Carpenters have a version).  It was the title track from the RnB album Oladipo released in October. When asked to rank his All-Star experience, Oladipo said his encounter with Foxx was first.

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