Filipino talent, international recognition Our talents as Filipinos have not gone unnoticed on the international stage. But while several individuals have rooted themselves in theater, acting and food, we’re here to celebrate those that have reigned supreme in sports. Hidilyn Diaz (weightlifting) Last year, Hidilyn Diaz was the talk of the town. After 20 long years without an Olympic medal, Diaz cinched a silver for the Philippines in a category that surprised us all—weightlifting. She was the first individual to bag an award for us in the category and her humility and sportsmanship was heartwarming to watch. Janelle Frayna (chess) The brain is a muscle, no matter how you look at it. As the first female grandmaster of the Philippines, Janella Frayna has cemented her name in the local chess scene. That isn’t to say, however, that she hasn’t done us proud in international competition. She finished with a 2281 rating at last year’s World Chess Olympian as she finished with 4 wins, 4 draws and just 1 loss. Ian Lariba (table tennis) Here’s another Filipina that marked a first for the Philippines. Ian Lariba is the first female Olympian that qualified and competed in table tennis. In 2014, she competed in the World Table Tennis Team Championships in Japan and placed first. Jordan Clarkson (basketball) His team may not have made it to the NBA finals this year, but Jordan Clarkson is an important member of the Los Angeles Lakers. The Filipino-American 24-year-old is the popular team’s shooting guard/point guard. Michael Martinez (figure skating) Generally speaking, the world doesn’t think much of tropical countries when it comes to winter sports. And yet, we have Michael Martinez who did not only do the Philippines proud, but brought pride to the whole of Southeast Asia. In the 2014 Winter Olympics, he represented our country as the first individual from SEA to even compete. Keep making us proud, ladies and gents! We can’t wait to see where your careers take you.
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