Our Beloved Coach Lydia De Vega
You will always be remembered and loved, “A life that touches others goes on forever.”
26 December 1964 – 10 August 2022
Brief Story of Our Late Lydia De Vega
Twice Asia Fastest Women, Two Time Olympian & Experienced Coach
Lydia de Vega, originally from the Philippines, was considered Asia’s multi-titles sprint queen and fastest woman in the 80’s and early 90’s.
In addition to being a two-timed Olympian (1984 and 1988), Coach Lydia also held many records and medals from other Asian and regional events.
Lydia was a popular figure in the Philippines that in 1983, a movie (Medalyang Ginto – Gold Medal) was shown across Philippines Theaters, base 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.
With all the training and experiences, Coach Lydia is now helping adults and children to realise their athletic dreams by coaching schools and private athletes in Singapore.
- Associate in Arts – Mt. San Antonio College, Walnut, California, USA
- Bachelor of Science In Education, Major In Physical Education, Far Eastern University, Philippines
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
- 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
- Philippines Sports Writers Association (PSA)
- 1981 – Athlete of the Year
- 1986 – Athlete of the Year
- 1987 – Athlete of the Year
- 1992 – Major Award
- 1993 – Major Award
- 1994 – Special Award
- 1998 – Athlete of the Century
- 1999 – Millennium Athlete
- 2018 – Philippines Hall of Fame Inductee
- Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM)
- 1993 – Sports Category
- International Invitation Track & Field Competition, Bangkok
- 1983 – Best Female Athlete
- Southern Coast Conference, USA
- 1986 – Athlete of the Year
- 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
- Currently also coaching our Local schools, conducting Private classes & Adults Running Programme
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
(An article extracted from Athletics Digest 1983, Singapore)
Lydia De Vega – Track Queen from the Philippines
During the Asian Games in Delhi, sheer joy and deep sorrow were never as closely connected after the 100 metres victory of Lydia De Vega. The 18 year old PE student and film actress from the Philippines put on a dominant performance when she finished her race in 11.76 seconds, far ahead of her other competitors. However, she suffered an injury after breaking the tape. This injury prevented her from participating in the 200 metres.
Despite of this setback, she continued to chase after her ambition and accomplished her goals when she was crowned as the fastest women in Asia. 4 years before this, in 1978, this was just a dream for a 14-year-old schoolgirl who had just started to compete in Track & Field meets with a promising 27.5secs for the 200m and a silver medal in the Philippines National Junior Championship.
Only one year later, in 1979 at the age of 15 years, Lydia De Vega already represented her country in the 3rd Asian Track & Field Championship in Tokyo. With a leap of 5.47 metres, she came in 7th in the Long Jump competition but also carried home a bronze medal when she came third in the women’s 4x400m relay with her teammates Lorena Morcilla, Carmen Torres and Myrna Ayo.
Additionally, in 1979, Lydia clinched three gold medals in the ASEAN School Championship in Singapore. She took the titles in the 100m with a timing of 12.5 seconds, in the 400m with a timing of 58.0secs and in Long Jump with a leap of 5.27 metres. Lydia also won a silver medal in her 4x100m relay race. However, these games were taking a physical and mental toll on Lydia, as she had multiple races to compete in a single meet.
This was once again reflected when she participated in multiple races during the 10th SEA Games in Jakarta in 1979. In the duration of 4 days, she took part in the 400m, 4x100m relay, 4x400m relay (in which she came 5th each), 100m ( in which she was placed 6th and recorded her best result of the Games when she clocked 12.38secs in the heats ) and in the Long Jump event in which she came in 7th with a performance of 5.45 metres. To cut down her workload, she retired from competing in Long Jump.
In 1980, young Lydia made into news headlines when she won both the 200m and 400m in the first ever ASEAN Cup in Jakarta, with times of 24.53 and 55.83 seconds respectively. She also achieved a ranking in the Asian top-list with 12.0secs in the 100m, 24.53 seconds in the 200m (4th in Asia at that point in time) and 54.6secs for the 400m, the best time recorded in the one-lap event by an Asian women in that year.
With two silver and one bronze medal in the 4th Asian Track & Field Championship in Tokyo, Lydia De Vega had a flying start into the 1981 season. With a time of 55.39secs, she was second to Japan’s Yunko Yoshida in the 400 metres. In the 200m, she clocked 24.54secs to take the bronze behind the Japanese couple Emiko Konishi and Tomi Ohsaka. Her silver came in the 4x100m relay in which the Philippines team was placed second behind Malaysia following the disqualification of the winning Japanese team.
At the end of the 1981 season, Lydia De Vega became the undisputed star of the 11th SEA Games in Manila. She clinched gold medals in the 200m and 400m with an outstanding timing of 23.54secs and with 54.75secs respectively. Silver medals in both relay events added to her success but again risked the danger of being burdened with too many races on the same occasion.
After leaving school and taking up studies in PE at the Far Eastern University in Manila, Lydia De Vega also started a unique job as a film actress; starring in a movie illustrating the slow but steady progress of an athlete from humble beginnings at the grassroots level, up to setting records and winning gold medals. Her father, Francisco De Vega, who is also her coach, expressed his views about Lydia’s engagements when asked about her future plans, “Studies first, Sports second, Film third.”
Gold medals were of course also on Lydia’s programme for 1982. Unchallenged again, she won herself a triple crown in the 2nd ASEAN Cup in Kuala Lumpur with times of 11.8secs for the 100m, 24.2secs for the 200m and 55.0secs for the 400 metres. Having also won a bronze with her team in the 4x400m relay she had to cancel her participation in the sprint relay due to a slight injury which she got in the 400 metres. This was only three weeks prior to the 9th Asian Games in New Delhi.
In the Indian capital, Lydia seemed to have recovered when she won her heat in the 100m in an impressive timing of 11.77secs, winning the finals while maintaining a large gap from India’s P. T. Usha (11.95secs) and Korea’s Mo Myung Hee (11.99secs), both failing to endanger the fleet-footed track queen from the Philippines. However, Lydia had to cancel her participation in the 200m as her old injury was affecting her once again, after her triumphant showing in the 100 metres.
This encapsulates the story of how Lydia De Vega, who is a keen singer in her spare time, was born in Meycauayan Bulacan on December 1964, and who stands 1.68 metres at a weight of 61.0 kg, developed as an athlete during her competitive days.
Personal Best Time
100m – 11.28 (SEA Games Record since 1987)
200m – 23.35 (Former SEA Games Record)
400m – 54.4
L/J – 6.27m (Former SEA Games Record)
If you would like to know how the sprint queen of Asia was born, read the clippings… for your leisure.