International Women's Day

Raising Hope: Celebrating Female Excellence in Sports

Photo by Baurjan Bismildin. Produced by Marina Aibassova. Talents: Aigerim Issayeva and Aigerim Jeksembinova

Vogue Philippines celebrates International Women’s Day through “Raising Hope,” in a call for nominations of inspiring women. These women rewrite the rules of the game in their contributions to the sports arena and in the development of future athletes. 

Behind every breakthrough of a woman in sports are thousands of women across all fields rooting for her. Through their stories of resilience, determination, and perseverance, these women in sports defy expectations and champion excellence on and off the field. 

Jasmine Alkhaldi, Nominated by Sarah Tan 

According to nominator Sarah Tan, swimmer Jasmine Alkhaldi has always embodied the Filipino spirit, representing the Philippines locally and internationally since the age of 12. Hailing from humble beginnings in Las Piñas, Alkhaldi’s journey from the local swimming scene to the world stage serves as a powerful testament to the potential that lies within every Filipino youth.

“What sets her apart from our outstanding national athlete heroes is her mission to use her platform and experiences to inspire the next generation to dream big and go after their goals.” Tan shares.

In swim clinics held across the Philippines, Alkhaldi encourages kids and teens to dream big and pursue their goals relentlessly. Throughout her journey, Alkhaldi’s mission is to empower the next generation of swimmers to be great, regardless of their backgrounds. While the pursuit of Olympic medals remains a driving force for Alkhaldi, she recognizes that her impact on communities is what makes a lasting difference. 

Candice Grey del Rosario, Nominated by Ana Warren Gonzales

As proven through her daughter’s experience, nominator Ana Warren Gonzales asserts that Candice Grey del Rosario is a dedicated and trusted figure in their community through her organizations Futbol Funatics and FF Daycare Club, which del Rosario co-founded. After leaving her corporate career, del Rosario pursued her passion for football and child development, nurturing young minds through football. 

For over two decades, del Rosario ran these clubs not only to hone athletic skills, but also to instill values of teamwork, communication, and fair play among her students. Unlike aggressive coaches who prioritize winning at all costs, del Rosario emphasizes sponsorship and positive reinforcement, fostering an environment where children feel valued and encouraged to grow.

Amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, del Rosario swiftly adapted her programs, offering limited face-to-face tutorials and pod classes to help children adapt to online learning. Through her compassionate leadership, del Rosario has earned the respect and admiration of parents and students alike, solidifying her reputation as a trusted mentor and friend to the children under her care. 

“My own daughter calls her a combination of names: sometimes Coach, sometimes Teacher, sometimes even Tita. When our dog died, she reached out to both of us, even sending private messages to my daughter saying she understands the pain of losing someone so important to her,” Gonzales shares. “Candice was able to communicate with my child in a way that she understands, with different messaging from the words of comfort that she gave me, an adult, [which] just goes to show her level of compassion and understanding for the children.”

Carla Francisco, Nominated by Betina Santos 

Courtesy of Carla Francisco

As a queer visual artist, Carla Francisco expands her commitment to creating safer spaces in sports. In her nomination, Betina Santos applauds Francisco’s dedication to creating inclusive environments by organizing futsal games that have garnered over one hundred participants in their community. 

“It’s clear how natural it is for her to create third spaces where people feel safe to share, engage, and just be.” Santos shares. “I know she will seek another way to create another safe space again.”

In her art practice, Francisco pushes for mental health awareness, sharing her journey in her inaugural solo art exhibition, “Hey Journal, I Tried Something.” Francisco exemplifies the importance of making mental wellness more accessible and uses her endeavors to make others feel less alone. 

Photo by Baurjan Bismildin. Produced by Marina Aibassova. Talents: Aigerim Issayeva and Aigerim Jeksembinova.

Visit everyday this month for daily features on inspiring women, as nominated by the people whose lives they’ve changed.

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