PH bowling legend Bong Coo honored with commemorative stamp
MANILA, Philippines–Bowling icon Olivia “Bong’’ Coo is bound to add another piece of decoration in her glowing trophy room.
The country’s most decorated athlete of all time will be immortalized in a commemorative stamp by the Philippine Postal Corporation in a momentous ceremony on Saturday at the Philippine Post Office in Intramuros, Manila.
“I am deeply honored for this recognition. I want to express my gratitude to Philpost which made this possible and to our Lord and Mother Mary for another blessing,’’ Coo, who is currently the secretary general of the Philippine Bowling Federation, told the Inquirer.
The four-time world champion and World Bowling Hall of Famer has been picked by the Philippine Postal Corporation, which will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the agency’s first postal stamp, as part of the Outstanding Filipinos Living Legends Series commemorative stamp.
“I hope this will inspire our athletes to work harder and become the best version of themselves,’’ said Coo, who was also enshrined in the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame by the Philippine Sports Commission.
Coo amassed the most medals and trophies as an athlete in any sport with 37 gold medals from the 78 medals she won in regional and global tournaments. She also captured a total of 137 championship titles in a career that spanned over two decades.
“This would not be possible if not for the guidance of all my coaches and my sports medicine doctor, Dr. Tyrone Reyes, who took care of me during my athletic career,’’ said the 73-year-old Coo, who last played in the 1999 Brunei Southeast Asian Games.
Coo’s first two coaches were her siblings, the late Eliano “Ulay’’ Garcia and Del Garcia, both of them former national bowlers, before Coo molded her skills into perfection under the tutelage of coaches Madoka Amano, Toti Lopa and Toti Ponce Enrile.
“It was my drive for love of God and country that pushed me to win,’’ said Coo, the chairwoman of the Women in Sports Commission of the Philippine Olympic Committee and was the first Filipino athlete to enter the Guinness Book of World Records twice.
She was named one of the greatest international bowlers of all-time by the prestigious Bowlers Journal International in 2013. The same publication also installed Coo in the top 24 international bowlers of all-time in 2004.
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