A well-calculated gamble on Mia Legaspi paid off when the 14-year-old high school student from St. Paul College Pasig gifted the Philippines its first gold medal in the ongoing 2nd Asian Youth Games in Nanjing.
Legaspi was not high on the list of choices for the PH team because of her age, but the National Golf Association of the Philippines batted for her inclusion because of her past record in major national tournaments, including a second-place finish to Dottie Ardina in the Philippine Women’s Amateurs last year.
“It was a gamble on the part of the NGAP, but we felt she deserved the shot (of representing the country),” said NGAP president Tommy Manotoc. “She had one of the best records among the juniors in the past year. And she showed us why in China.
“It was also a way of acknowledging how successful her family training is,” added Manotoc after flying back to Manila on Wednesday night together with Mia’s family.
With sparkling rounds of 66-66-69, Legaspi secured the country’s first gold medal in the 45-nation competition with a 54-hole total of 201 Tuesday, beating by one shot compatriot Princess Superal.
Legaspi trains every day under the watchful eye of father Norman, who devised a formula to complement the technical, physical and sports psychology training that Mia gets.
“Her training would amount to nothing if she cannot get foreign exposure,” the elder Legaspi said. “Mia has been playing in bigger events, out of her age group.”
The AYG gold was just the latest in a slew of titles that Legaspi has won. Her title collection includes five US Kids’ titles, a Callaway Junior World championship, a Montecillo title, and a Queen Sirikit crown.
“Even without a big sponsor, Mia strives to be the best player that she can be,” the father said. “And with the NGAP’s help, she’s getting there. And it’s all for the country.”