ONE of the most inspiring stories in the last Southeast Asian Games gets to be recognized with a special honor in the SMC-Philippine Sportswriters Association Annual Awards Night at the Centennial Hall of the Manila Hotel this Friday.
Gymnastics gold medal winner Daniela dela Pisa joins tennis phenom Alex Eala, future grandmaster Daniel Quizon, and ace swimmer Miguel Barreto as the Milo Junior Athletes of the Year in the March 6 gala night organized and presented by the country’s oldest media organization.
Dela Pisa, 16, stepped out of the shadows of illustrious teammate and world champion Carlos Yulo to bag a gold in the hoop finals of the women’s rhythmic gymnastics competition of the recent biennial meet. It was the only gold produced by Filipino gymnasts outside of the two won by Yulo (artistic all-around and floor).
The young Cebuana native did the feat after overcoming ovarian cancer at the tender age of four. Through chemotherapy and the love and all-out support of her family, she continued her passion for the sport through the guidance of her mother Darlene, a former gymnast herself, to become the bemedalled athlete that she is today.
Dela Pisa also won a pair of bronze in the rhythmic ball and clubs, respectively.
Eala, Quizon, and Barreto were not to be outdone, proof that great things start from small beginning through hard work and discipline.
Eala, 14, continued her meteoric rise in the world rankings, finishing 2019 rated at No. 9 after making her junior Grand Slam debut in the US Open.
Eala also leads the list of Tony Siddayao Awardees who will be recognized in the event supported by the Philippine Sports Commission, Milo, Cignal TV, Philippine Basketball Association, AirAsia, and Rain or Shine.
Quizon, 14, an International Master, captured the gold in the Under-16 standard competition of the Eastern Asia Youth Chess Championships in Bangkok. He emerged as the best-placed Filipino in the blitz side event of the Asian Continental Chess Championship in China where he toppled three Grandmasters in Wan Yunquo and Liu Yan of China, along with Venkataraman Karthik of India.
Quizon is the youngest in the top 20 Filipino chess players in the country today.