March 1, 2024

Cordilleran athletes who excelled in last year’s Southeast Asian Games were honored in the annual Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) awards at the Manila Hotel on March 6.
Around 20 athletes from the Cordillera, who were gold medalists in their respective sport events, shared the limelight with other sports luminaries during award rites hosted by the country’s oldest sportswriters’ group.
Leading the awardees was Nesthy Petecio of the University of Baguio, who is the lone major awardee from the region, for winning gold in the 2019 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships and another gold medal in the 30th South East Asian Games.
Carlo Paalam and Josie Gabuco were also honored for their excellence in boxing.
Given citations for winning gold medals apiece in kickboxing were Gina Iniong, Jerry Olsim, and Jean Claude Saclag, all members of the famed Team Lakay.
ONE strawweight world champion Joshua Pacio was also honored for bringing pride for the country in mixed martial arts.
Bemedalled Muay Thai athlete Ariel Lampacan was likewise given citation along with men’s waikru man Muay Thai athlete Jearome Calica and Sandi Abahan for the obstacle course race and Kenneth Jiane Villa for esports.
Three more Cordillerans who excelled in arnis and won gold medals in the SEAG, Crisamuel Delfin, Abegail Abad, and Elmer Manlapas also shared the limelight.
Taekwondo poomsae freestyle world and SEAG gold medalist Jeordan Dominguez and bemedalled wushu combat athlete Divine Wally are also perennial PSA awardees.
Mixed martial artist and sambo athlete Mark Striegl was also cited along with Estie Gay Liwanen for kurash, Kurt Bryan Barbosa for taekwondo (kyurogi), and Jason Baucas for wrestling.
This year’s most coveted Athlete of the Year award went to Team Philippines for winning its second overall champion in SEAG.
The PSA is the oldest media organization, founded in 1949, and made up of veteran and seasoned sports scribes, section editors, and columnists from print media sports news websites and social media platforms. – Harley F. Palangchao