They dominated their respective disciplines internationally and proved that the Filipino athlete is world-class.
EJ Obiena continued his assault on the pole vault world rankings and highlighted his year with an Asian Games (Asiad) gold medal.
Meggie Ochoa and Annie Ramirez, jiujitsu stars who have labored to become world beaters, also won golds each in the Asiad.
And Gilas Pilipinas applied much-needed balm on a World Cup failure by beating China in the global showcase and then returning to the top of the Asian basketball throne after six decades.
Meanwhile, the women’s national football team, which goes by the “Filipinas” moniker, scored a historic goal courtesy of Sarina Bolden in a historic win during a historic appearance in the Women’s World Cup. Those top achievers lead the list of candidates for the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Awards Night slated Jan. 29, 2024 at Diamond Hotel.
Obiena, Ramirez, Ochoa and Gilas Pilipinas spearheaded the country’s foray into the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, where the Philippines collected four gold medals, two silvers and 12 bronzes for the country’s best finish in the continental showcase since the Hiroshima edition in Japan 29 years ago.
The Filipinas, meanwhile, added to the shine of Philippine sports in 2023 with a memorable debut in the World Cup, where they produced a stunning 1-0 victory over host New Zealand through Bolden’s heroics and the timely saves of goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel.
It was a year in sports awash in gold, outshone only by 2021, when the Philippines finally broke through with an Olympic champion through Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo in the Tokyo Games.
For one, the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and the Asian Games—and, by extension, the Para events of both sporting meets—were bunched in one year for the first time because of sporting calendars collapsed by the COVID-19 pandemic. That compressed scheduling produced a stellar cast of champions who brought honor to the country and will be rightfully honored by the country’s oldest media organization and expected guests of honor Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino and Philippine Sports Commission chair Richard Bachmann.
Aside from the Athlete of the Year, other awards will also be handed out by sports editors and writers from different broadsheets, tabloids and online sites who comprise the PSA membership.
The Lifetime Achievement Award, Executive of the Year, President’s Award, National Sports Association of the Year, Mr. Basketball, Ms. Volleyball, Ms. Football and the Tony Siddayao Awards are among the yearly honors being given out.
Major Awards and citations to athletes, officials and entities who excelled in their respective sports are likewise going to be recognized.
—Inquirer Sports Staff