The 2018 Asian Games which concluded last August in Indonesia is an incredible display of Filipina power. All four gold medals are in the hands of female athletes. Dubbed as the “Golden Girls,” the winners included weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, skateboarder Margielyn Didal, and golfers Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan, and Lois Kaye. Filipina athletes have been winning accolades for the country for as long as competitions like these have been around. But only a handful of women get the recognition they truly deserve.
For every Lydia de Vega Mercado, Elma Muros Posadas, and Akiko Thompson, there are countless more both active and retired that deserve to be honored. Here are a handful of Pinays who can be your next sports hero.
This student-athlete from Legazpi City is the first woman grandmaster of the Philippines. She had a rating of 2281 at the end of the 42nd World Chess Olympiad at Baku Azerbaijan, with 4 wins, 4 draws, and 1 loss in nine games. She’d be a champion, too, if academics are a sport as she graduated magna cum laude and class valedictorian of her class at Far Eastern University.
Ian Lariba (Table Tennis)
A varsity player at the De La Salle University and a decorated UAAP champion, Ian Lariba is the first female from the country to qualify for and compete at the Olympics back in 2016 for table tennis. Apart from representing the country in various international tournaments, she is also part of the team that won first place in the 2014 World Table Tennis Team Championships in Japan. Ian, however, is a gem gone too soon. On September 2, she passed away at age 23 after a grueling battle with leukemia.
Claire Adorna (Triathlon)
Even with a painful ankle injury, this triathlon protege gave the Philippines a gold medal in the 2015 SEA Games. Two years later, she earned a silver medal at the same multi-sport event. Claire is looking to qualify for her ultimate goal: the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. For now, she’s recovering from an ankle operation to make sure her body’s in top condition for the next two years.
Rubilen Amit (Pool)
If there’s Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante, there’s Rubilen Amit. She’s the first Filipina to ever become a World Pool Champion back in 2009. She claimed the title again back in 2013 in the ten-ball category. She was also a runner-up at the nine-ball set. Rubilen also won silver at the SEA Games last year.
Meggie Ochoa (Jiu-Jitsu)
It’s a shame that Meggie Ochoa is not known to most Filipinos because she is a three-time International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) world champion. The 28-year-old grappler is also the gold medalist at the Abu Dhabo Grand Slam Jiu-Jitsu World Tournament in London last March. Beyond the accolades, however, Meggie is using her platform to fight rape and empower survivors of sexual violence. She’s also teaching jiu-jitsu to children who have been through trauma.
Krizziah Lynn Tabora (Bowling)
After 14 years of title drought, the glory days of Philippine Bowling is back with Krizziah Lynn Tabora. The 27-year-old is the 53rd QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup (BWC) Champion in the women’s division. She joins the likes of bowling greats such as Paeng Nepomuceno, Christian Suarez, Lita dela Rosa, and Bong Coo Garcia.