TWO young but tough women who put the country in the world spotlight and another gutsy team that reaped international honors will be among the standouts the Philippine Sportswriters Association will honor in a grand gala night in two weeks’ time.
Taekwondo’s Mikaela Calamba, karate’s Princess Joanna Mae Ylanan and the national dragon boat team will receive major awards during the PSA-Milo Annual Awards Night on March 16 at Manila Hotel.
The 15-year-old Calamba emerged as the first Filipino to bag an individual gold in the World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships by topping the women’s individual freestyle in the 7th edition of the tournament last December in Tunja, Colombia.
A comely Cebuana, Calamba also won a bronze in the women’s team event where she teamed up with former PSA Athletes of the Year Rani Ortega and Janice Lagman.
Ylanan, 20, delivered the lone gold for the Philippines in the World Karatedo Federation World Cup in Busan, South Korea, in August last year.
The karateka from Tacloban City topped the women’s -68 kg kumite after downing South Korea’s Park On-you in the finals.
The national dragon boat team of the Philippine-Canoe Kayak Federation pulled off a sensational six-gold medal haul in the 2012 ICKF Dragon Boat World Championships in Milan, Italy, in September last year.
Coached by Len Escollante, the Filipino paddlers copped the overall championship in the 14-nation tournament after picking up gold medals in the 10-mixed 500 meters, the 10-man 2,000m, the 10-man 500m and three more in the Open category of the 200m events.
“Their achievements are deserving of a major award each,” said PSA president Rey Bancod of Tempo, who is spearheading the event presented by the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Basketball Association, LBC, Smart, Rain or Shine, Globalport 900, ICTSI, Philippine Golf Tour and Sen. Chiz Escudero.
Reigning WBO super bantamweight champion and the 2012 World Boxer of the Year Nonito Donaire Jr., world women’s boxing gold medalist Josie Gabuco, the Softball World Series winner Team Manila and five-time UAAP men’s basketball champion Ateneo will lead the awardees as co-Athletes of the Year.
Other major awardees: world champions Brian Viloria, Johnriel Casimero, Donnie Nietes and Sonny Boy Jaro (pro boxing); Mark Caguioa (pro basketball); Bobby Ray Parks (amateur basketball); Tony Lascuña (men’s pro golf), Dottie Ardina (women’s amateur golf); champion horse Hagdang Bato and jockey Jonathan Hernandez (horse racing).