MANILA – Philippine athletes and sports officials on Thursday continue to reel from the passing of athletics great Lydia De Vega-Mercado.
The legend's daughter, former volleyball star Paneng, bared the sad news late Wednesday night.
"We mourn an irreplaceable loss to the sporting community," Philippine Sports Commission commissioner Bong Coo said in a statement.
"Another sad day for PH sports," Philippine Olympics Committee president Bambol Tolentino described Mercado's passing in another statement.
Spanning into Thursday, it has been a rough midweek in Philippine sports, beginning with the passing of veteran sportswriter Malou Manuel on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, news broke out that basketball legend Dong Polistico also died, and hours later, just before the clock struck midnight, Mercado said goodbye too.
For Coo, who, like Mercado also starred during the 80's in bowling, the sprint queen's death goes beyond sports.
"I grieve as an athlete and friend. Lydia is my contemporary. Kasama ko siya, kapanahon. It is such a big loss to Philippine sports," Coo said.
She bared, "I was even counting on her to help me in my tasks as Commissioner since she was a PSC consultant for a long time."
Tolentino also took the time to honor the late Mercado, who was once known as Asia's fastest woman.
"Although we have lost a great icon, she made an imprint to the hearts and minds of all the people she inspired. Her story will always be a success, story to all athletes that Filipinos are capable of being in the pedestal specially to those who dream and pursue it," he said.
"I am sure her legacy and achievements will continue to inspire for generations to come, as she was also an inspiration to me. Let us all pray for her as she runs her final journey to her heavenly reward. We will miss you Diay," added Coo, who later bared that the PSC has asked for additional support from President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. "as we know the financial burden her long hospitalization has on the family." (PNA)