Southeast Asian Games women’s long jump record holder Marestella Torres leads the seven select individuals to be recognized with the Top Achievers award by the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) on March 3 at the Manila Hotel.
Marestella Torres, the 2009 Asian championship gold medalist in her pet event, reset the SEA Games record in the long jump with her remarkable leap of 6.71 meters in Palembang, Indonesia, to top the event for the fourth straight time and make her the consensus choice as the top bet in athletics.
With Marestella Torres in the elite list of Top Achievers who will be honored by the country’s sportswriting community in its Annual Awards Night Saturday of next week, are Darwin dela Calzada (baseball), Oliver Barbosa (chess), Rachel Daquis (volleyball), Monica Torres and Nikko Huelgas (triathlon) and John Paul Lizardo (taekwondo).
The Top Achievers award is the brainchild of PSA president Rey Bancod of Tempo to distinguish Filipino athletes who excelled in their respective field of sports.
Reigning super-bantamweight world champion Nonito Donaire Jr. and world no. 1 pool player Dennis Orcollo share the spotlight in the formal bash, presented by Smart and aired live over DZSR Sports Radio 918, as co-winners of the coveted Athlete of the Year award.
The two Filipino sports heroes will be presented with their elegant trophies by no less than guest speaker Vice President Jejomar Binay during the yearly rite, also co-presented by Harbour Centre, Milo, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corp., (PAGCOR), ICTSI, SM Prime Holdings, and Coca-Cola.
Lizardo, Japoy to friends and fast becoming the face of men’s taekwondo in the country, led the four-gold medal romp of the Filipino jins in the 2011 SEA Games, topping his event in the flyweight category.
Dela Calzada is a long-time Philippine team member and served as the winning pitcher of the men’s baseball team that reclaimed the gold medal in the Indonesia SEA Games. The former University of thePhilippines Maroon, who was also with the team that last won the gold in the 2005 edition of the meet here, shutout the host country in a 2-0 win during the championship match.
Huelgas carried the country’s flag in the Guangzhou Asian Games and is the current team captain of the men’s triathlon team, while Torres snared the Filipino elite category of the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines for the third straight time and was voted Elite Triathlete of the Year.
Barbosa was one of two chess players to become Grandmaster last year, along with Julio Catalino Sadorra, but capped his sterling performance behind a big jump in his ELO ratings.
Daquis powered Philippine Army to the V-League Season 8 Open Conference championship following a two-game sweep of San Sebastian in the finals. The former Far Eastern Universtiy stunner was adjudged Finals MVP.