The National Masters and Seniors Athletics Association of the Philippines (NMSAAP), recognized by both World and Asia Masters Athletics (WMA and AMA), is the local governing body of masters athletics in the country. Its first president, the late Manny Ibay, an avid long distance runner himself, led a team of directors comprising of veteran track and field athletes to oversee administrative and technical functions of the association.
The NMSAAP is also recognized by the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sportswriters Association. It is duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Since 1996, NMSAAP has been instrumental in putting together a competitive delegation participating in both WMA and AMA events. The succeeding table chronicles Team Philippines Masters’ performance record in the World Masters Athletics Championships (WMAC).
|Edition||Host/Country||Date/Year||Medals||No. of Athletes|
|20th||Porto Alegre, Brazil||16-27 October 2013||1 Gold||2|
|19th||Sacramento, California, USA||6-17 July 2011||1 Gold, 1 Bronze||2|
|18th||Lahti, Finland||28 Jul – 8 Aug 2009||2 Golds, 1 Silver||3|
|17th||Riccione, Italy||20 Aug – 15 Sep 2007||–||0|
|16th||San Sebastian, Spain||22 Aug – 3 Sep 2005||1 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze||3|
|15th||Carolina, Puerto Rico||2-13 July 2003||1 Gold||2|
For the upcoming 21st WMAC in Lyon, France, the Philippines will be represented by four outstanding masters athletes. Each of them has a compelling story on how they have started and manage to stay competitive in the sport of athletics throughout the years. The common thread in their stories is passion and resilience.
At 64, Lavandia is the eldest athlete in the national masters roster. She is a product of Project Gintong Alay during the 80’s and has lorded javelin throw in the Philippines up until her retirement. Lavandia has been with the sport since 1972. She is still regarded as Asia’s Javelin Queen.
After her stint as a national athletics athlete, she joined the police force. After her service in the Philippine National Police, she was tapped by the PSC to be the monitoring officer for athletes in its Baguio training camp. Even after leaving the mainstream international athletics competition, Lavandia never gave up javelin throwing. Despite limited resources and facilities, she continued her training and sharing her gift to young aspirants.
In 2013, Lavandia captured the gold medal in the javelin throw at the World Masters Athletics Championships held in Brazil. This year, amidst a field of top athletes, she hopes to match that feat.
Obiena took over the post vacated by the late NMSAAP founding president, Manuel Ibay. Aside from his duties as president of the association, Obiena never takes time out to his prolific devotion to popularizing and advancing pole vault in the Philippines. From being a national team member, he was appointed as national coach for pole vault.
Pole vault is definitely Obiena’s passion. A big portion of his personal funds from his own business is allocated in assisting other upstart pole vaulters to reach greater heights and training of his son EJ Obiena, who is now the country’s top polevaulter.
Aside from coaching his son and other wards, Obiena continues to train being an adamant believer in consistent and correct training, a necessary element to achieve athletics excellence. At the 18th Asia Masters Athletics Championships held in Japan, Obiena bagged the gold medal. In the upcoming WMAC, he is unofficially in the top 3 of the world ranking.
Lorna Vejano, at 54, may not be the typical regular individual who maintains a daily routine. She took up running relatively recently, but to date has racked up over a hundred long distance races, which include marathons and ultra marathons. To sustain her dedication with running, she allocates a substantial portion of her income from her family business. Vejano, who hails from Laguna, has been very active in participating in international masters athletics competitions. For the past two editions of the WMAC she took part in the women’s marathon.
This year’s championships, she will see action again in her favorite event, marathon. Despite the challenges of meeting family responsibilities, economics, and strong competition in her event, she is optimistic she will finish strong and represent well the country.
The 21st WMAC will be Fresnido’s first world championships to ever join as an athlete. Fresh from his retirement as a national athlete, he even took further his passion for javelin throw. To date, he holds the Philippine record in the men’s javelin throw. During the 18th AMAC in Kitakami City, Japan, he bagged the gold in the same event and set a new Asian Masters record.
Fresnido’s dedication to athletics can be seen in his exceptional ability in balancing his time–as a family man, an army officer, and a masters athlete. For him, rigorous discipline and focus are the key elements to be among the world’s best.
Fresnido, at the moment, rounds up unofficially in the Top 3 of the men’s javelin throw in the upcoming WMAC in Lyon, France.
21st World Masters Athletics Championships – Lyon, France, 4-16 August 2015
Date | Name | Event | Category | Age | Competitors
7 Aug | Erlinda Lavandia | Javelin Throw | Women | 60-64 | 15
7 Aug | Emerson Obiena | Pole Vault | Men | 50-54 | 32
9 (prelims); 10 (Finals) Aug | Danilo Fresnido | Javelin Throw | Men | 40-44 | 31
16 Aug | Lorna Vejano | Marathon | Women | 55-59 | 15