The Philippines sure has a lot of talented athletes from its pool since only God knows when. These female Filipino athletes, however, stand out among the rest after proving themselves worthy of representing the flag in international sporting meets.
We listed those who made the country proud by going above and beyond on their chosen sport. It sure was quite a challenge to narrow the selections down to just 10 names.
Ian Lariba, table tennis
She represented the country in the women’s singles, where her most notable performance came at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Lariba was also named as the flag bearer in the said international meet – her last competition prior to her break after being diagnosed with leukemia.
Marielle Benitez, football
She served the women’s football team as captain from 1999 up until her retirement in 2015. Her leadership skills has taken her up a notch by becoming the coach of the women’s U16 football team. Apart from that, Benitez is also a member of the Bayanihan Dance Troupe, a broadcaster and has a degree in Psychology.
Akiko Thomson, swimming
She was one of the greatest swimmers that ever represented the country in the international level. This may not be known to many, but Thomson is a naturalized Filipino. That fact did not hinder her though from representing the Philippines as proud as she can be, though.
Bea Lucero-Lhuillier, gymnastics & taekwondo
Remember that Milo advert where someone helped out a struggling young gymnast in the balance beam? It was Bea who starred there, relieving her days as a young gymnast herself. But other than appearing for a chocolate milk drink ad, she was the first Filipino Olympian who brought home a bronze medal for taekwondo at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Alyssa Valdez, volleyball
The former Ateneo Lady Eagle has not only been MVP in the UAAP, but her prowess in volleyball has also earned her a season of playing in Thailand – a proof that female Filipino athletes are at par with our neighbors in the region. She has also been the flag bearer during the 2015 SEA Games held in Singapore.
Toni Leviste, equestrian
Leviste may have been competing mostly with a team with one of her teammates being a popular personality in sports and in showbiz, but she has proven herself worthy of bannering the nation’s flag individually a whole lot of times. The former Olympian now runs an equestrian park in Batangas.
Mary Joy Tabal, marathon
Who could even forget this young Cebuana who fought hard for her place in the list of athletes to represent the country in the 2017 SEA Games? It proved to be the wisest decision for both herself and the PATAFA as she gave the Philippines its first gold medal in the biennial meet. Tabal has a fighter’s heart which the whole world has also seen when she competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
She is currently training in Italy, preparing for the Asian games and aiming to give another glorious finish for the Philippines in the women’s marathon category.
Elma Muros-Posadas, athletics (long jump)
In her prime years as an athlete, Muros-Posadas has been named as the “Long Jump Queen of the Philippines”. She has earned every right to be called such a moniker; she possessed great power when it comes to leaping that high and it earned her medals after medals after medals up until she retired. She now coaches in an exclusive international school down South, sharing her knowledge and passion for sports to younger generations of potential athletes.
Lydia de Vega-Mercado, athletics (sprint)
Who doesn’t know her, anyway? She is perhaps not just one of the greatest female Filipino athletes that ever represented the country but is definitely also one of the greatest athletes to ever grace the sport. Of course, when you hear the name Lydia de Vega, it was synonymous to being “Asia’s fastest woman” – which she really was during her prime in the 80’s. It is such a shame, though, that the Philippines’ sprint queen has chosen to share her expertise in a foreign land instead of developing our very own athletes.
Hidilyn Diaz, weightlifting
She is the epitome of being a superwoman. Diaz is not just an athlete; she’s also an enlisted personnel of the Philippine Air Force. She carried our flag high and proud at the 2012 London Olympics. She didn’t make it to the finals of the weightlifting category that year, but she came back with a vengeance in the 2016 Rio Olympics to bag the silver medal.
These female athletes would make not just their mommas proud, but also all of the super women out there. Their love for the country is immeasurable, and their passion for their chosen sport is truly unimaginable. These are just 10 names out of the many who make it all the more worthy to be proud being a Filipino.