Miguel Molina, the country’s most successful swimmer in the Southeast Asian Games with a total of 11 gold medals, has announced his retirement from competitive swimming at age 26.
Molina, who became a pool star while studying at University of California Berkeley, had already made the qualifying standard for the 2012 London Olympics but chose to quit to “give way to new talents.”
Born in the Philippines but raised by his teacher-parents in Tokyo, Molina competed in the 2004 Athens and 2008
Beijing Olympics, where he earned plaudits for giving way to Manny Pacquiao as the country’s flag bearer during the Games’ opening ceremony.
“His decision is a big loss to our Olympic drive,” said Mark Joseph, president of the Philippine Aquatics Sports Association (Pasa). “The Pasa and the swimming family are grateful to Miguel for his untiring effort and patriotism and for being good example to all swimmers.”
In earlier interviews with the Inquirer, Molina said he planned to pursue a masters degree and to also get coaching education.
He was the SEA Games Most Outstanding Athlete in 2007 (Thailand), where he won four gold medals. In the 2005 Manila Games, he won three golds, after picking up two in the 2003 Vietnam edition.
“He wants to make room for new rising talents,” said Joseph of Molina, the 2007 Philippine Sportswriters Association Athlete of the Year, who started competing at age 12.