May 23, 2024

HER SIDE OF THE COURT | Women of Power: Filipina athletes to follow in 2023 SEA Games

HER SIDE OF THE COURT | Women of Power: Filipina athletes to follow in 2023 SEA Games
Art by Royce Nicdao

For the first time in SEA Games history, the Philippines will be represented by an all-female lineup in this year’s parade of nations. The Philippine Sports Commission recently announced that 50 women athletes will walk the parade in a celebration of women empowerment and a statement for gender equity in sports.

The parade is just the start. Here are some of the incredible Pinay athletes to watch out for once the competition actually begins.

Basketball: Gilas Pilipinas Women

After back-to-back gold medals, Gilas Pilipinas Women are bringing an all-star lineup as they aim for their third straight gold. We’re talking Jack Animam, the first Filipina to play pro basketball in Europe; captain and national team veteran Janine Pontejos, fellow vet Afril Bernardino, US NCAA Division 1 athlete Ella Fajardo, Khate Castillo, who rained down threes in the last SEA Games, Camille Clarin of NU fame, and more!

Women’s basketball in the Philippines has been enjoying a well-deserved surge in popularity, and we love to see it.

Triathlon: Kim Mangrobang

The accomplished athlete has certainly earned her moniker “Southeast Asia’s Triathlon Queen,” with a total of five SEA Games gold medals across triathlon and duathlon eventsincluding three straight gold in triathlon. Since the last SEA Games, Mangrobang has been working to raise the profile of triathlon as a sport among Filipinos.

Last year, she graced the PBA season opening as the muse of the Meralco Bolts, saying that she hoped the platform would help bring attention to the hard work that national athletes put in all year round. As Mangrobang looks to continue her gold streak for the Philippines in the SEA Games, it’s high time to shine the spotlight on her incredible performance, as well as on the whole triathlon team.

Weightlifting: Vanessa Sarno and Elreen Ando

The Philippines’ first-ever Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz will not be competing in this edition of the SEA Games, as it conflicts with the 2023 Asian Weightlifting Championships.

As Diaz prepares to pass the torch to the next generation of Filipina weightlifters, keep an eye out for heir apparent Vanessa Sarno, who won the gold medal and set a new record last SEA Games. Meanwhile, Elreen Ando is hungry to finally clinch gold after she settled for silver in the two most recent SEA Games.

Football: The Filipinas

The women’s national team, also known as The Filipinas, are headed to the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time in history this 2023. While this is already an incredible milestone, they are hoping to cement their legacy in Southeast Asia as well. They won bronze in the last SEA Games, and are determined to improve on that result to give them that extra boost of confidence and experience ahead of the World Cup.

Swimming: Jasmine Alkhaldi

The two-time Olympian is back in action! Now over a decade since she competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Jasmine Alkhaldi’s longevity in her sport is worth celebratinga testament to her discipline and conditioning. Far from retiring, Alkhaldi is looking to bring home the gold after taking home a silver and bronze in the last SEA Games.