Filipino World Champions
Filipino world champions refer to Filipino athletes who have been acknowledged as such after winning a sporting event – usually called the world championships – recognizing them as the best in the world in their respective sports.
Nature of world championships
Almost all sports – whether professional or amateur; or individual or team in nature – have their respective world championship games held periodically. World championship games concentrate only on particular sports and are not a conglomeration of various sporting events like the Olympics, the Asian Games, or the Southeast Asian Games. However, the status of world championship games has already matched the prestige of the Olympics – in terms of the level of competition and significance – that to be able to just compete, in itself, is already an achievement for athletes.
Filipinos are familiar with many high profile sports that hold world championship games. For instance, football has the World Cup held every four years. Basketball has the Federation of International Basketball Association (FIBA) Championships held every four years. Bowling has the FIQ World Cup held every year. Professional boxing, on the other hand, has several existing organizations – World Boxing Council (WBC), World Boxing Association (WBA), World Boxing Organization (WBO), International Boxing Federation (IBF) – that regularly conduct championship fights. Amateur boxing also has a world boxing championships. Billiards (9-ball) has the World Nine-ball Championship. Swimming, chess, volleyball, wushu, and tennis are some of the other high profile sports that hold world championships. Even sports not included in the Olympics such as practical shooting, extreme sports (such as rock climbing), and dance sports hold periodic world championships to determine the best in those sports.
Elite Filipino athletes
Over the years, many Filipino athletes have competed in various world championship games in various sports. However, as in the Olympics, competing in any world championship would require hurdling tough qualifying tournaments to make it to the actual world championship games. Some eventually succeeded in the attempt. Majority, however, would not be able to make it to the championship itself. This is the reason why only a handful of Filipinos have been acknowledged and recognized as legitimate world champions. However, the number is already immaterial if one considers the honor brought by these Filipinos to the country. And as in the case of Filipino Olympic medalists, Filipino world champions are also considered the elite of Philippine sports.
In the history of Philippine participation in various world championships, it is in billiards, bowling, professional boxing, amateur golf, martial arts, softball, shooting, and weightlifting where Filipinos have figured prominently and have been officially proclaimed as world champions. Professional boxing, so far, has produced the most number of Filipino world champions.
Arranged according to sports, the following Filipino athletes have made the Philippines and their countrymen proud for their achievements in their respective sporting events.
(to access the knowledge database on Filipino world champions, click Filipino World Champions link)
Dragon Boat Race
1920s and 1930s
Dela Cruz, Juan. Filipino World Champions. Mandaluyong City: National Book Store, 2005.