Elma Muros-Posadas: Iron Woman
BY MA. VANESSA L. ESTINOZO
If you’re the type who shuns household chores, think again. Two-time “Athlete of the Year” and “Iron Woman of the Philippines” who brought countless medals and honor to the Philippines did just that as a kid without question and look at what she had become now.
“We were taught how to cook, do the laundry, everything. It’s like we were trained very well on how to live on our own while they work. We were independent, I got that from them,” shares Elma Muros-Posadas.
Elma grew up in a very simple family with parents selling copra in Magdiwang, Romblon and clothes at ukay-ukay. She’s sixth of nine children so they really had to struggle to make ends meet.
Elma already had a knack for track. As a kid, she loved running with her classmates, beating boys her age, and jumping over pot of plants. Elma’s mother, Alice, was also a 400-meter dash runner. So there’s also no question where the Philippine’s Iron Woman got her skills and love for the sport.
Dedicated to train, she worked her way up from intramurals, provincial meet, regional meet, Palarong Pambansa, Southern Tagalog Regional Athletic Association (STRAA), to Southeast Asian Games in 1981.
For Elma, the love of sport started early. She didn’t want anything else but to pursue track and field and try other sports like heptathlon. Elma did not waste any time to train and represent the Philippines.
With nine other siblings, she feels blessed and overwhelmed with the recognition that she has received over the years. God-fearing, thankful, and perseverance are what inspired her to success.
Running for a dream
During her student days, Elma had to juggle between studying at Far Eastern University and being a full-time athlete.
But she chose the latter and took the risk. Looking back, she didn’t regret the path she has taken. Elma knew that this God-given talent is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Every athlete’s dream is to represent their country in an international game, to be able to showcase her skills and talent in an international scene, and to some, to meet her idol in their field of sport.
For Elma, that happens to be Lydia de Vega, Asia’s fastest woman, whom she met when she was 14 years old, on the same competition.Being the shy type teenager, she kept herself calm and composed. Being in the same competition with the person she idolizes motivated her to win the game.
“Lord kung ano man talaga mangyari dito, laro lang ang akin. Opportunity ko ito. (Lord, whatever happens here, it’s just a game for me. This is my opportunity.)” she prayed, and won.
Before competing, Elma reads the Lord of Pardon and makes sure she wears her hair band and has her Sto. Nino, she picked up from Cavite while playing for STRAA, coiled in her running shorts. She considers them as her lucky charms.
She received her first gold medal in 1983 in SEA Games at Singapore, competing internationally only at the age of 16. The 48-year-old Olympian treasured and cultivated the talent that God has blessed her, with continuous training, discipline, and by giving back to younger-potential athletes.
Receiving 15 gold medals in SEA Games, eight straight gold medals in long jump. Elma is beyond ecstatic for being a versatile athlete; training not only in track and field but also in 100 meter hurdles, javelin throw, high jump, shot put, 800 meters, and long jump that led her to be the Iron Woman of the Philippines.
She endured all the hardships, waking up in the morning, going to Tagaytay to train back then.
“This talent is rarely given by God. How can you reach it if you don’t endure all the struggles? How can I have the title of being the fastest woman, long jumper, iron woman if don’t work for it,” she shares.
Some would think that having a child would be a setback to anyone’s career, not for Elma. It was even a stepping stone to focus more on her training.
“Yun ‘yung challenge na kailangan patunayan ko talaga, kailangan gampanan ko to na nagkamali sila sa sintensiya sa akin. (That’s the challenge that I really have to prove, I need to show them that they were wrong.)”
Retired in 2001 and married to Jorge Posadas since she was 21 years old, Elma is now a full-time coach, together with her husband, and a mother to two athletic children.
The proud mom shared that her kids grew up in a discipline household, with parents both athletes and now athletes themselves playing basketball, volleyball, swimming, and track and field.
Elma also mentors athletes from University of the East, Jose Rizal University, and Brent International School, whom she advised to never resort to drugs.
“Perseverance is all you need. God said don’t expect everything from Him, help yourself. There are many opportunities waiting for you,” she concludes.