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De Vega looks back at Tatang's teachings


PhilBoxing.com


Former Asian Sprint Lydia de Vega-Mercado refused to see her father Francisco ?Tatang? de Vega?s remains in the entire week of her former coach?s wake at the family residence in Barangay Calvario in Meycauayan City.

Even inside the chapel where a mass was held Sunday prior to Tatang?s interment, she kept her distance from the casket although she remained sobbing loudly throughout.

?I might not be able to hold on to myself,? Diay told this writer by way of explaining her decision not to even get near to the casket. ?Baka ako himatayin.?

Of all Tatang?s six siblings with wife Aleng Mary Diay happened to be the closest to him keeping her daughter company daily from the time the two of them decided that the pretty, long-limbed girl of l2 would go into track and field until the time she retired more than a decade and-a-half later.
?Ang tagal naming nagsama halos araw-araw mula noong magsimula akong tumakbo. Kahit noong mag-aral ako sa Amerika at mag-training sa Mt. Sac (Mt. San Antonio College of Los Angeles) magkasama pa rin kami at coach ko pa rin siya doon,? she said.

Before Tatang was finally laid to rest to give members of his family the last chance to glance at him, Diay approach the coffin and what she feared happened ? she broke down even as she shouted at the top of her voice? Tatay, hindi kita talaga malapitan at matingnan dahil baka di ko makayanan ang sarili ko.?

?Pero ngayon titingnan na kita kasi hindi na kita makikita kahit kalian. Ito na ang ang kahulihulihang pagkakataon na makita ka,? she blurted out, adding,? Salamat sa lahat ng nagawa mo sa akin. Kung hindi sa ?yo, hindi ko mararating ang kinalalagyan ko ngayon!?
?Salamat din at hanggang sa kahulihulihang sandali ng iyong buhay ay hindi mo ako nakalimutan. Itinaon mo pang birthday ko nang iwan mo kami,? she exclaimed in reference to the day Tatang passed away last Dec. 26 which happened to be Diay?s 46th birth anniversary.

Incidentally, too, Tatang perished while Diay was still in Singapore where she currently works since 2005 after helping the country win the overall championship in the Southeast Asian Games as a consultant in the Philippine Sports Commission.

Her statements drew tears from almost everybody inside the Pandayan Memorial Park of the hundreds that joined the three-kilometer long funeral procession from the Calvario Barangay Chapel where the mass was celebrated earlier.
So long was the funeral procession that the hearse carrying Tatang?s casket was already entering the memorial park located at Barangay Pandayan but the tail end was still at the McArthur Highway.

Inside the chapel, Diay thanked all those that condoled with her and her family, including President Nonoy, who sent a signed personal message of sympathy.
At her turn to speak at the necrological service, Diay recalled the sacrifices Tatang and she had undergone in quest for fame and glory for the country, the hardship and agony she had on the way to crowning herself Asia?s Spring Queen of the 80s and 90s.

How she endured and followed to the letter Tatang?s ?no pains no gains? and ?no guts, no glory? philosophy kind of training that had her depriving of hers`
She said that if there?s going to be an award given to the ?Best Track and Field Coach? the Philippines ever produced, she believes that should go to Tatang.
?Despite Tatang?s lack of formal education in coaching, he led me to bringing home no less than 40 gold medals racing against the best the world of track and field can offer, including a pair in the Asian Games na me becoming the first woman athlete to win back-to-back the 100 meters gold.

?Count my winnings in the local competitions and the number of gold medal I was able to bring home would be no less than 50,? she said. ?Sinong local coach ang nakagawa ng ganun??
?I know that the orthodox way of Tatang in guiding my running career for me and the country earned will not be forgotten in a long while,? she said.

?As a product of the old school teachings, kung ano ang ipinamulat ng kanyang mga magulang sa kanya ay iyon din ang ipinamulat niya sa amin, lalo na sa akin sa pagiging atleta ko, she commented. ? Walang science na makukuha lamang sa eskuwela, walang modern technology. Tatang played everything by ear.

?Ang pagtitiwala sa sarili para magawa ang lahat ng nais gawin ang kanyang ginamit. Ito rin po ang prinsipyong itinananim nya sa isip ng aking mga kapatid na ngayon ay gabay naming sa aming pamumuhay,? Diay continued.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.


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