Retired boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao extended kind words to the family of the late athletics great Lyda de Vega, who passed away Wednesday.
Pacquiao said De Vega, one of the Philippines' well known sports icons, was an inspiration to Filipinos.
"You ran. You sprinted. You competed in pursuit of your own personal excellence so that the world can know our country, our Philippines. And you succeeded, as more and more Asians became aware of our country," the former senator said in a statement.
De Vega, once considered Asia's fastest woman, passed away after a battle with cancer. She was 57.
She won nine gold medals in the Southeast Asian Games and two golds in the Asian Games. She was also a two-time Olympian (Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988).
De Vega also set a personal best of 11.28 seconds in the 100-meters, a national record that stood for 33 years, until it was broken by Kristina Knott in 2020.
Pacquiao said that as a former athlete, he knows what De Vega had to go through to reach success.
"I know what it is like to exercise, practice and run alone. I went through all those times that we spent lonely mornings, running, practicing to reach the best version of ourselves. But in the end, success makes it all worth it," he said. "And Diay, you are worth all the adulation, all the applause, the appreciation of not only our country, but the whole world."
"Thank you, Diay. Thank you for being an inspiration to me and my boxing career. Together, you and I -- we did it!"