MANILA – Two retired sports greats will receive the Lifetime Achievement honor when the Philippine Sportswriters Association holds its Annual Awards Night at the Manila Hotel three weeks from now.
Former bowling World Cup champion Olivia "Bong" Coo and cycling legend Paquito Rivas are the latest Filipino legends to be recognized by the country's sportswriting organization in the event to be held on February 26.
Notable figures who previously received the award include Carlos Loyzaga, Virgilio "Baby" Dalupan, Filomeno "Boy" Codinera, Carlos Padilla, Mauricio Martelino, Francisco Elizalde, and the 1973 Philippine men's basketball team.
Grandmaster Eugene Torre was the most recent recipient, back in 2017.
Coo and Rivas made waves in Philippine sports on the same year – 1979.
Coo, 70, won the QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup (formerly known as the International Masters and AMF Bowling World Cup) in Bangkok, Thailand as the country kept the women's title won by the late Lita Dela Rosa the previous year.
She would later teamed up with Dela Rosa to win the doubles gold in the 1979 World Championships in Manila.
In the summer of the same year, Rivas, 73, became the toast of local cycling after winning the 1979 Tour behind his notable climbing prowess, a skill which made his peers consider him as the undisputed 'Eagle of the Mountain' up to these days.
Rivas remains involved in local tour races even in retirement, and now stands as race manager of the UCI-sanctioned Le Tour de Filipinas.
Coo is likewise still very much active in bowling as the current secretary general of the Philippine Bowling Federation.
A four-time world champion and five-time Asian Games gold medal winner – including topping the Singles, All-Events, and Masters in the 1978 edition in Bangkok – became the first Filipino athletes to be listed by the Guinness Book of World Records and one of the inaugural member to the International Bowling Hall of Fame along with another Filipino bowling great in Paeng Nepomuceno.
Just last November, she along with Nepomuceno and Dela Rosa were inducted into the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame.
Coo was also PSA Athlete of the Year four times in 1982, 1983, 1984, and 1986, an award the quintet of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, golfers Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan, and Lois Kaye Go, and skateboarder Margielyn Didal will share together when the country's oldest media organization pays tribute to the best of Philippine sports in 2018.
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