Last Updated on January 4, 2023 by Andrew Pirie

Amelita Alanes

First Published July 10, 2013, by Andrew Pirie


The Philippines had a vibrant tradition of Asian Women Sprint Champions, starting with Inocencia Solis in the 50s and then Mona Sulaiman in the 60s. After Sulaiman, some time passed. A stocky teenager born in La Carlota, Negros Occidental, on February 28, 1952, emerged to become the country’s next Sprint Queen.

Sulaiman’s controversial career conclusion in the late 1960s left a large gap in the women’s sprinting field. The dominant female sprinter of the 1970s was Alanes she owned the three national sprint records. She had a similar frame to Solis and was a lot more petite sprinter than the massive Sulaiman at 5’2 and 50kg.


Amelita Alanes ASIAN GAMES 1970

In the heats, Alanes posted a time of 11.9 seconds and held the Filipino Junior Record at the time for two years; before Lucila Salao broke it (11.6 secs). Alanes could only finish fourth in the finals with a time of 12.4 seconds. The Asian Record Holder Chi Cheng won the race in 11.6 seconds. Due to Chi Cheng of Taipei’s unavailability, the world record holder strained a thigh muscle during the heats.
The competition was close; 18-year-old Alanes came out on top around the bend. But the 17-year-old Keiko Yamada of Japan overhauled the Filipina in the straight and took the gold medal In a much closer race than the recorded times suggested of 25.0 and 25.2. 

When Lydia De Vega, at 17 years old, broke Alanes’ 200-meter time in 1981 with a run of 23.54, it had been the Philippine Junior Record for eleven years. Together with S. Ordoyo, A. Bustamante, and L. Salao, they also placed fifth and last in the 4x100m relay.

History repeats itself sometimes. Amelita Alanes  (left) and 2014 Palarong Pambansa 100m Champion and fellow Ilongo Mary Anthony Diesto  (right) both from Negros.

Amelita Alanes 1972-1974

At the National Games in Davao, in what was a quick but classed as an invalid performance, Alanes won the National title in 23.6 seconds, from Aida Montawell in 24.1 seconds. Reasons are not known; Col. Constantino noted that this performance was doubtful.

Alanes increased the Filipino women’s record at Marikina to 56.4; she kept it until 1981. She thus held all three sprint records for most of the 1970s.

Alanes competed in the 100, 200, and 4×100 meters at the Munich Olympics when he was 20 years old. Aida Mantwell, Lucila Salao, and Carmen Torres were her relay teammates. They were rejected and did not proceed. Her only Olympic experience would be this one. Alanes finished last in the 100m heats with a time of 12.37et. However, she finished fourth in the 200m heats with a time of 25.28et. and ran 24.98 et in the quarterfinals before being eliminated.


Amelita Alanes Asian Champion

In 1973 Alanes won the gold medal at the Asian Track and Field Championships in Manila. Winning in a time of 11.6 seconds (wind-aided). She timed 25.0 seconds in the 200m to win the silver medal. Alanes had clocked a windy 24.0 and 24.4 in the pre-rounds.

At the National Games in Marikina in 1974, Alanes recorded her best time of 11.4.
And it took De Vega till 1985 to surpass the previous national record (11.53) and eventually improve to the current record of 11.28 by 1987.


1974 Asian Games

After winning the second of two slower heats in 12.55, Alanes. I had the unfortunate luck to place fourth behind Israeli Esther Rot. (Yes, before joining European Athletics, Israel competed in the Asian Championships.) She had defeated Japanese competitor Keiko Yamada in the Semi-Finals but lost out on the bronze by a mere.01 points. She ran the 200 meters in 25.19 and finished sixth behind Rot.

i) Amelita Alanes End of an Era. Active for most of the 1970s, nearing the end of her career, is currently fighting under the name Saberon, her married name.


1975 Asian Championships

By 1975, Alanes was unable to retain her Asian 100-meter championship. With a time of 12.60, she was only able to finish 11th overall and reach the semifinals of the Asian Championships. She could not even make it to the finals. In the 200 meters, Alanes did better, coming in second in her heat in 25.14. She qualified for the final but came in fifth in 25.18, failing to win a medal. additionally participated in the 4×400-meter relay team, which was disqualified for finishing fifth out of five teams.


1978 Asian Games

However, she was never able to match her early 1970s form in her times. She was presently a member of the bronze-winning relay team from the eighth Asian Games in 1978. (Mantawel (or Torres? ), Alanes, Salao, Morcilla)

At the Asian Games in 1978, she advanced to the semifinals, but her time had slowed to 12.50. She was also currently playing second fiddle to the rising Lorena Morcilla. Alanes-Saberon did not advance to the final, and Morcilla ultimately qualified and came in last place in the final, just like in the 1975 Asian Championships. Finishing ninth, this time just missing out.

In the 200 meters, she flipped the script, and both she and Morcilla qualified for the finals. In 25.45, Alanes-Saberon took fifth place, and Morcilla placed eighth, the same as in the 100 meters.

Alanes eventually gave way to a group of sprinters. The main one Lorena Morcilla was the most dominant sprinter in the Philippines from 1979-1981. Until a talented teenager came of age from Bulacan by the name of Lydia De Vega. Lured out of retirement at the age of 28, she went up against the upcoming youngster who beat the veteran in all three sprints.






By Andrew Pirie

Andrew was elected Vice President of the Association of Track and Field Statisticians in 2020 after being a member for 7 years. He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant, and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017. And Currently is Consultant Coach with VMUF 2021- Current editor and chief of, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program. Coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is  Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles. Currently working towards a Masters Degree in Education. He can be contacted on [email protected] You can find more information on Coaching here

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