In some cases courage mattered more than height. Thus the petite figure of Mercidita Manipol that stood less than 5’0 crushed the challenge of her much bigger opponents to emerge as a SEA Games champion in the 2005 SEA Games in Manila.
Manipol still holds the Philippine Record in the 5000m set in the 2003 SEA Games in Hanoi at 16.40.81.
Born 19th May, 1980
During the 1998 Palarong Pambansa in Bacolod Manipol representing Southern Tagalog Team took silver behind Marites Acomyo in both the secondary girls 1500m timing 4.59.7 and 3000m 10.44.6.
By 1999 Manipol was recruited by University of the East. In the Philippine University Games Manipol took the Gold in the 3000 (10.43.9), and 1500 (4.56.2) and silver in the 800 2.22.8.
Selected to represent the Philippines at the ASEAN University Games in Bangkok, Thailand (December). Manipol took silver in both 1500 (4.49.92), and 3000m (10.31.57).
She also went onto win the 10k of the Milo Marathon in 39.42.0.
At the 2001 UAAP. Manipol set new meet records in 1500 (4.46.42) and 3000 (10.48.00) also taking Bronze in the 800 (2.22.44). After graduating Manipol would serve as assistant coach to her mentor Elma Muros for a number of years.
In the 2003 SEA Games in Hanoi Manipol took a bronze in the 10,000m in 34.59.62, narrowly behind Tran (Vietnam) 34.48.28 and Sutono (Indonesia) 34.48.93.
In the 2005 SEA Games in Manila Manipol took the Gold in the 10,000m (35.38.04), and a well fought silver behind Oliva Sadi (Indonesia) 16.34.94 to 16.42.17.
She clocked a PB of 9.50.51 to win the 3000m at Palayan City.
In the 2007 SEA Games in Thailand Manopol took bronze in 35.05.57.
She won the Thailand open 5000m in 2008 in 17.54.40. But the highlight of that year was becoming Milo Marathon Queen.
By 2009 already a veteran at 29, now under the name of Mercidita Fetalvero she took bronze in the 5000m 17.12.09.