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'Abante Babae': These Filipinas Rule the Male-Dominated Sports World

Filipinos women in sports keep making 'herstory'.
by Ara Eugenio
Just now
Photo/s: AFP Composite photo

Filipina athletes have again made "herstory" on Sunday as the Philippine women's national football team prevailed over Thailand to win the 2022 AFF Women’s Championship — a first for the country.


The historic feat is only second for the team this year, as in February, they had secured the country its first World Cup berth. 

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Like in many other fields, female athletes have historically been relegated to obscurity, but a recent streak of them soaring to sports glory proves just how equally capable they are (if not more) as their highly favored counterparts.

In 2021, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz had broken not just a personal but an entire competition record as she hoisted a whopping 127-kg weight to secure the Philippines its first gold in the Olympics. 

READ: How Hidilyn Diaz, a Woman, Smashed the Highest Glass Ceiling for Any Filipino Athlete

The feat was the first for any Filipino athlete and was nearly a century in the making. Her gold streak did not end there, as she went on to dominate the Southeast Asian Games for the second time. 

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Also in the Olympics, boxer Nesthy Petecio made history as the first Filipina to win an Olympic medal of any color (silver) in the traditionally male sport. 


As she carried the boxing-obsessed nation's flag at the world's largest sporting event, she was also raising the Pride flag as the first openly LGBT Olympic medalist, alongside fellow openly-lesbian athlete, street skateboarder Margielyn Didal, who placed 7th. 

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In another non-basketball sport, there's also tennis player Alex Eala, who, in June, copped a new career-best ranking in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) as she joined the Top 350 for the first time after a campaign in Spain.

Though she has now chosen to play under a different flag, gold prodigy Yuka Saso, who was born in the Philippines and has a Filipino mother and Japanese father, remains a source of pride for Filipinos. 

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Sean Haffrey/Getty Images North America via Agence France-Presse

At 19, Saso had become the first athlete from the Philippines to win a golf major tournament -- man or woman -- after clinching the U.S. Women’s Open to join Republic of Korea's PARK Inbee as the youngest winner.

Prior to this feat, she won two gold medals for the Philippines at the 2018 Asian Games and played for the country at the Tokyo Olympics.

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