OLYMPIC silver medallist Hidilyn Diaz leads the list of stakeholders to be given citations at the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Annual Awards Night on March 27.

Ms. Diaz, 30, and 19 other athletes and sports entities are being recognized for the excellence they showed in their respective fields despite the difficulty of the times.

The 2016 Rio Olympics silver medallist Diaz completed a three-gold sweep in the women’s 55 kg division of the Roma Weightlifting World Cup in Italy last year just before the pandemic to virtually assure her of a berth in the Tokyo Olympics.

She is currently preparing to formalize her entry in the rescheduled Games in her upcoming tournaments.

Also to handed out citations are Ms. Diaz’s co-weightlifter Vanessa Sarno, Olympic-bound Eumir Felix Marcial and Irish Magno of boxing, and pole vaulter EJ Obiena, the skateboarding pair of Margielyn Didal and Motic Panugalinog, the track and field quartet of Kristina Knott, Natalie Uy, William Morrison, and Christine Hallasgo, and James Delos Santos of karate.

Also in the list are Sander Severino of chess, sambo’s Sydney Tancontian, cyclist George Oconer and the Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance cycling team, and the four major leagues that successfully held their respective seasons in a bubble during the COVID-19 pandemic, namely: the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Philippine Football League (PFL), Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3, and the National Basketball League (NBL).

Female golfer Yuka Saso will be given the prestigious Athlete of the Year Award after a stellar professional debut season last year, which included winning two straight titles in the rich Japan LPGA and having a strong 13th place finish in the US Open in her first crack at a major LPGA championship later in the year.

A Lifetime Achievement Award, meanwhile, will be given to three pillars of Philippine sports in former Gintong Alay Project Director Joey Romasanta, the PBA’s seventh commissioner and current Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Executive Director Sonny Barrios, and former Ambassador and Philippine basketball godfather, the late Eduardo ‘Danding’ Cojuangco.

The Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) is the National Sports Association (NSA) of the Year award for the second straight time, while rising tennis prodigy Alex Eala and world boxing champions Johnriel Casimero and Pedro Taduran are recipients of major awards.

The PSA Annual Awards Night will be done virtually from the TV5 Media Center. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo