MANILA, Philippines -- Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski doesn't quite consider herself a trailblazer, despite making history as the first Filipino -- and first Asian woman -- to ever be elected in the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
"As far as being a woman in the IOC Executive Board, napakarami ng nauna sa akin, so 'di ko masasabi na trailblazer ako," Cojuangco-Jaworski mused during an appearance on the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday.
"The IOC is very serious about gender equality, gender equity, so meron talagang effort sa IOC na may female representation. I'm very proud of that," she added. "I'm very grateful, kasi nagkakaroon din ako ng maraming opportunities dahil doon sa philosophy na 'yun."
Nonetheless, Cojuangco-Jaworski knows that the spotlight is on her as the first Filipina to have made it to the powerful Executive Board, which is the highest decision-making body of the IOC.
The 2002 Asian Games gold medalist for equestrian garnered a majority of 45 out of the 93 votes cast during the 136th session of the IOC Congress, giving her a place in the Executive Board led by IOC President Thomas Bach.
Cojuangco-Jaworski said she feels a responsibility to represent not just the Philippines, but Asian women as well.
"As far as being the first Filipino in the IOC Executive Board, the first Asian woman, I'm just grateful. And all the more responsibility siya para sa akin, kasi gusto ko ipakita talaga na it's a place for a Filipina to be in. It's a place for an Asian to be in," she said.
"(I want to show) that we have a place there, that we can contribute very positively and productively at that level," she added. "That's why I need everybody's support and cooperation."
Cojuangco-Jaworski is also hopeful that her latest achievement will show women that there is another route for them to take. She points out that another Filipina athlete, fencer Maria Leonor Estampador, is a member of the IOC's Communications Commission.
A member of the IOC's Coordination Commission for the Tokyo Olympics, Cojuangco-Jaworski will have a four-year term in the IOC Executive Board.
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