Lydia De Vega, Died on August 10, 2022 (aged 57)

Image Source: Ang Tubong Meycauayan

Maria Lydia de Vega-Mercado (December 26, 1964 – August 10, 2022) was a Filipina athlete who was considered Asia’s fastest woman in the 1980s.

She is also known with her nickname of Diay.

On a side note, she has the same birthday as my mom.

Her educational background includes an Associate in Arts at Mt. San Antonio College, Walnut, California, USA and a degree of Bachelor of Science In Education, Major In Physical Education at Far Eastern University, Philippines.

Her national record in 100m of 11.28 seconds in the 1987 SEA Games event stood for more than three decades before Filipino-American Kristina Knott shattered it in 2020.

Lydia De Vega held the National 200m record for 32 years with 23.35 seconds. But, it was first broken by Fil-Heritage sprinter Zion Corrales-Nelson to 23.24 and 23.16. And, was bettered further by another Fil-Heritage sprinter Kristina Marie Knott near the end of 2019 with 23.07 and 23.01.

Lydia De Vega’s National and National Junior Record in the 400m stood from 1981 to 2013 until Jenny Rose Rosales broke it.

In 2018, De Vega was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. The same year wherein she was inducted into the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame.

Lydia was a popular figure in the Philippines that in 1983, a movie (Medalyang Ginto – Gold Medal) was shown across Philippines Theaters, based on her true-life story and her achievements and in the year 2004, another 2-part series (Magpakailanman – Forever) was shown in the Philippines (Channel 7) on her lifetime achievements.

In July 2022, De Vega was reportedly “in critical condition“. She died on 10 August 2022 while hospitalized at the Makati Medical Center.

Personal Best Time

  • 100m – 11.28 (SEA Games Record since 1987)
  • 200m – 23.35 (Former SEA Games Record)
  • 400m – 54.4
  • Long Jump – 6.27m (Former SEA Games Record)

Courses / Seminar Attended

  • IAAF – Level 1 & IOC Solidarity Course (Philippines)
  • IAAF – Level 2, Sprints (Singapore)
  • 40th International Session for Young Participants, International Olympic Academy in Athens, Greece
  • PATAFA National Officiating Course
  • International Olympic Committee (IOC) – Sports Medicine Course
  • Philippines Sports Medicine Centre – Elevating Scientific Preparation for SEA Games
  • SCC – Symposium of Sports Science
  • SNDA Scientific Seminar – Sports Nutrition
  • SDSC – Disability Sports Conference
  • IOC – Sports Administrators Course
  • SDSC – Disabled Track & Field Technical and Coaching Course
  • First Aid Course (Singapore Red Cross)
  • MOE / SSSC / SPSSC Coaches Accreditation Course
  • SSTI – Understanding & Working with People with Physical Disabilities
  • MOE – Coaching in Singapore Schools: Developing the Whole Child
  • ACE/FIT – Sports Injuries
  • ACE/FIT – Advance Muscle & Strength Development
  • ACE/FIT – Training Older Adults
  • ACE/FIT – Mobility & Stability Assessment and Training
  • SSC – National Standards for Youth Sports

Achievements

  • 1984 & 1988 Olympic Games (Quarter finalist in both Games)
  • Current SEA Games record holder in 100m (11.28secs) since 1987
  • Former SEA Games record holder in 200m (23.37secs) from 1987 – 2001
  • Former SEA Games record holder in Long Jump (6.27m) from 1987 – 1989
  • Label as Asia fastest women for 8 years from 1982 – 1990
  • 2 gold, 1 silver medals in 2 Asian Games
  • 9 gold, 9 silver & 2 bronze medals in 5 SEA Games
  • 4 gold, 1 silver & 4 bronze medals in 5 Asian Track & Field meet
  • 9 gold, 2 silver medals in 5 Asean Cup
  • 9 gold in 3 Asean Schools Track & Field meet

Medals Breakdown from 2 ASIAN Games

  • In 1982, 100m (11.76) – 1st
  • In 1986, 100m (11.53) – 1st, 200m (23.47) – 2nd

Medals Breakdown from 5 SEA Games

  • In 1981, 200m (23.54) – 1st, 400m (54.75) – 1st, 4 x 100m – 2nd, 4 x 400m – 2nd
  • In 1983, 100m (11.78) – 2nd, 200m (24.26) – 1st, 4 x 400m – 2nd
  • In 1987, 100m (11.28) – 1st, 200m (23.57) – 1st, Long Jump (6.27) – 1st, 4 x 100m – 2nd, 4 x 400m – 2nd
  • In 1991, 100m (11.44) – 1st, 200m (23.95) – 2nd, 4 x 100m – 2nd, 4 x 400m – 3rd
  • In 1993, 100m (11.60) – 1st, 200m (23.37) – 1st, 4 x 100m – 2nd, 4 x 400m – 3rd

Medals Breakdown from 5 ASIAN Track & Field Championship

  • In 1981, 200m (24.54) – 3rd, 400m (55.39) – 2nd
  • In 1983, 100m – (11.82) – 1st, 200m (24.07) – 1st, 4 x 400m – 2nd
  • In 1985, 100m (11.96) – 3rd, 400m (55.66) – 3rd
  • In 1987, 100m (11.43) – 1st, 200m (23.38) – 1st
  • In 1991, 100m (11.71) – 3rd

Awards

  • Philippines Sports Writers Association (PSA)
  1. 1981 – Athlete of the Year
  2. 1986 – Athlete of the Year
  3. 1987 – Athlete of the Year
  4. 1992 – Major Award
  5. 1993 – Major Award
  6. 1994 – Special Award
  7. 1998 – Athlete of the Century
  8. 1999 – Millennium Athlete
  9. 2018 – Philippines Hall of Fame Inductee
  • Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM)
  1. 1993 – Sports Category
  • International Invitation Track & Field Competition, Bangkok
  1. 1983 – Best Female Athlete
  • Southern Coast Conference, USA
  1. 1986 – Athlete of the Year

Coaching Experience

  • Former Philippines National Sprints Coach
  • Consultant for Athletes Affairs, Philippines Sports Commission (1998 – 2005)
  • Former coach of Singapore Disability Sports Council (SDSC) National Team since 2010

Overseas Competition as Coach

  • 2007 Asean Para Games (Korat, Thailand) SDSC Athletics Coach
  • 2011 Asean Para Games (Solo, Indonesia) SDSC Athletics Coach
  • 2014 Asean Para Games (Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar) SDSC Athletics Coach

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