Friday , 19 April 2024

Diaz-Naranjo, 4 others named Flame Awardees in 1st Women in Sports Awards

For their dedication, discipline, passion and commitment to excellence in their respective sports, Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Hidylin Diaz-Naranjo leads four others who will be recognized during the 1st Women in Sports Awards on Wednesday at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum. 

Diaz-Naranjo will be cited as a Flame Awardee along with volleyball ace Alyssa Valdez, skateboarder Margielyn Diaz, billiards icon Rubilen Amit, and mountain climber Carina Dayondon in the event organized by the Philippine Commission on Women in partnership with the Philippine Sports Commission. 

“Hidilyn, Margielyn, Alyssa, Rubilen and Carina have been the paragons of passion and dedication, inspiring legions of fans while motivating others in pursuing careers in their respective disciplines,” observed PSC Commissioner Olivia “Bong” Coo, who has oversight over the agency’s athletic programs for women.

Diaz-Naranjo is a prime example of perseverance, never giving up and needed four Olympics in finally bagging the elusive gold for the country in ruling the women’s 55-kilogram division in record-breaking style at the Tokyo Summer Games in 2021.

Not content with her accomplishments, she and husband-coach Julius have built a training camp for aspiring weightlifters in Jala, Jala Rizal. 

Also recognized in the gala event supported by Milo, CEL Logistics and Wrist Pod is Valdez, who has been the poster girl of local women’s volleyball for more than a decade since breaking into the scene as a talented rookie spiker with the Ateneo Lady Blue Eagles.

Now playing for the multi-titled Creamline Cool Smashers, Valdez has spawned a generation of girls eager to play volleyball, contributing to the phenomenal growth of the sport. 

On the other hand, Didal rose from nowhere in clinching her first gold medal in the women’s street skateboarding event during her memorable Asian Games debut at the 19th edition held at the Jakabaring Sports Complex in Palembang, Indonesia in 2018.       

The Cebuana livewire has captivated fans both locally and overseas, and is best remembered for her bright smile during her maiden appearance in the Tokyo Olympics despite some fumbles and tumbles along the way.

Amit is a multiple SEA Games gold medalist on top of being a two-time world 10 ball champion, and aims to leave her own legacy by organizing the Amit Cup series in search of aspiring billiards talents. 

Dayondon has been an inspiration for local mountain climbers for becoming the first Filipina to conquer all “Seven Summits” of the world, including Mount Everest in Asia and Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.   

The Flame Awardees were picked by a distinguished panel of judges composed of Philippine Olympians Association representative Stephen Fernandez, Nikko Huelgas of the POC Athletes Commission, veteran sports broadcaster Judith Caringal, Milo Sports Executive Carlo Sampan and Masters Athletics official Judith Staples, according to Coo.

In the lead-up to the 1st Women in Sports Awards, Coo bared that memorabilia of some of the outstanding athletes to be recognized will be on display at the lobby that began on Monday at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum lobby.

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