MANILA, Philippines — The nation is mourning the demise of Asia’s fastest woman, Lydia De Vega-Mercado.
De Vega passed away Wednesday night, August 10, after a four-year battle with breast cancer. She was 57.
“She fought the very good fight and is now at peace,” De Vega’s daughter, Stephanie “Paneng” Mercado-de Koenigswarter, said on her social media.
De Vega was one of the most successful athletes in the country’s history. She won 15 gold medals in international competitions, including nine at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
De Vega also won two Asian Athletics Championships in 1983 and two more in 1987. In 1982 and 1986, she won two gold medals at the Asian Games.
De Vega, a two-time Olympian, was also a part of the Philippine team that sought gold in 1984 and 1988. In 1993, she won her final two medals at the Southeast Asian Games before retiring at 30 at the 1994 Manila-Fujian Games with an “easy victory” in the 100-meter dash, as reported by an October 26, 1994 newspaper article.
The icon made her last public appearance at the 2019 SEA Games, held in the Philippines. She was one of the flag bearers for the country, along with legends like Efren “Bata” Reyes, Paeng Nepomuceno, and Eric Buhain.
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. also joined the nation’s grief at the passing of the legendary Filipino sprinter.
“I join the entire nation in mourning the untimely demise of former Asian sprint queen Lydia de Vega, after a four-year battle with breast cancer. My sincerest condolences to her family and loved ones.”President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
“Lydia de Vega has run her last race. She has finished her contest. She has fought a good fight. Let us pray for her peace,” he said.