Mona Sulaiman

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Mona Sulaiman, a Mindanao-born sprinter who was declared Asia's fastest woman before Lydia de Vega. She placed the Philippines on Asian athletic map by her impressive records as a runner. A veteran Olympian, she is the first Filipina to win three golds in a single Asian Games which took place in Jakarta in 1962. She was also Asia’s first double-gold winner in sprints; the first national champion in pentathlon (1963), five-time national champion in shot put, six-time national champion in the 100m and 200m event, and was a discus throw national champion. She competed in the 1960 (Rome) and 1964 (Tokyo) Olympics.

She was born to Kudelat and Aminan Sulaiman in a small Cotabato barrio in 1942. Her athletic prowess first came to public notice at a sports meet in her school in 1957. She was in the fifth grade and was just fifteen. An official of the Bureau of Public Schools attended the festivities. This was providential to Mona because when the school official returned to the division superintendent’s office in Cotabato, he brought with him incredible stories about her speed on the cinder path. He told the officials of Cotabato about Mona, the barefoot Muslim girl who could outstrip every running thing in sight. That started off her upward climb in the athletic world.

To the glory of her country in the international events, she was a winner of two gold medals since she finished the 100-meter race in 11.93 seconds ahead of two Japanese runners and the 200-meter sprint in 24.63 seconds ahead of a Japanese and a Sri Lankan at the 1962 Jakarta Asiad. She was also a recipient of a bronze medal as she participated in shot put in the same event.

In the national track and field meet, she proved her prowess at the Rizal Memorial Stadium as she chalked up several national record-breaking feats in her two favorite events: 11.9 seconds in the 100-meter dash and 2.46 seconds in the 100-meter dash. She anchored her team in the 400 x 100-meter relay as well. She tossed the spheroid 39.11 feet in the shot put.


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