THE past 22 years of SunStar Davao saw several homegrown athletes grab the spotlight as they rose from their humble beginnings and created a name for themselves in their own respective fields.

Rio Olympian boxer Charly Suarez, 29, whose amateur career started with the Barangay Una Boxing Team of Panabo City founded by Representative Antonio Floirendo Jr., said, "Nagpapasalamat ako sa SunStar Davao dahil sa patuloy na support sa mga tulad kong atleta, sa patuloy na pagbalita upang maihayag at makikita at makilala ang mga tulad kong atleta na nagbibigay at nagdadala ng karangalan sa ating Inang Bayan at sa lahat ng mga Filipino sa buong mundo (I’m thankful to SunStar Davao for their continued support to athletes like me, for keeping on writing about athletes like me who give honor to the country and to the Filipinos worldwide)."

Chess national master John Marvin Miciano, 16, a Grade 12 Far Eastern University (FEU) student, said, "I have always been challenged to do better as a chess player every time I am featured in SunStar."

The former Ateneo de Davao University mainstay also thanked the community paper, hoping that through SunStar Davao he will continue to inspire young Dabawenyo chess players to excel.

Sydney Tancontian, 17, of the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers women's varsity team, for her part, was also thankful for SunStar Davao's "unending support" to athletes like her.

"SunStar helped me boost my confidence and be able to inspire other people," the Dabawenya judoka, who recently clinched a bronze medal in her Southeast Asian (SEA) Games debut in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, said.

Two-time SEA Games campaigner Maiquel Jawn Teh Selga, who competed in women's wakeboard of the Singapore and Kuala Lumpur stagings of the biennial meet, also thanked the paper for recognizing her and sharing her achievements to Davao City.

Selga, a Grade 11 student of the Asian International School of Aeronautics and Technology, added, "I am so thankful that you guys are the ones who recognize my achievements and thank you so much for always supporting me. I won't be who I am now if it wasn't for SunStar Davao."

Tenpin bowler Tessa Dianne Galendez, a two-time SM Millionaire's Cup champion, said SunStar Davao has helped her a lot in boosting her self-confidence every time he is featured.

"It also motivates me to do better because a lot of people recognize me already especially the youth who admire my abilities. I hope SunStar will continue to be an advocate of success to every athlete's dream. Happy 22nd anniversary SunStar Davao! Kudos for a great job!" the 23-year-old 2017 Kadayawan Open champion added.

De La Salle University Green Archers women's tennis varsity player Jenni Celine Dizon, meanwhile, shared, "Nakatulong ang SunStar Davao sa akin as an athlete kasi simula nung bata pa ako, lagi nilang fine-feature pag-nagcha-champ ako and kinekwento nila in an enthusiastic and by detail talaga kung paano nangyari yung winning journey ko. For me, nakaka-inspire makabasa ng ganun kasi lalo akong namo-motivate na galingan pa lalo (SunStar Davao helped me as an athlete because they write a feature every time I’m hailed a champion. They tell it ethusiastically and by detail how my winning journey happened. For me, it’s inspiring to read content like those because it motivates me to do better). It's like recognizing my achievements for Davao. And ginugupit talaga ng Mom ko yung mga features na yun and nilagay sa album para remembrance na di namawala forever (My mom cuts out the features and puts them in an album so it stays there forever)."

National University men's varsity chesser Austin Jacob Literatus of Toril, a UAAP champion, said the paper helped him be known, thus, paving the way for him to get sponsors easily for his trips and competitions.

"Sana patuloy nyo paring suportahan ang mga athletes na kagaya ko (Hopefully you’ll continue to support athletes like me)," Literatus said.

Fellow UAAP chess champion Rowelyn Joy Acedo of the DLSU women's chess varsity team also shared her gratitude that SunStar Davao's continued coverage since she started playing chess helped her generate more support for her campaigns here and abroad.

Acedo, who hails from Buhangin, appealed, "Please continue to support and promote potential athletes to also influence other youngsters in Davao to excel in sports."

The journey of these athletes, indeed, has been and will always be a roller-coaster ride. SunStar Davao is proud to have chronicled their every milestone and will continue to record and share every battle they will have to face for Davao and for the country.