SOUTHEAST Asian (SEA) Games diving multiple gold medalist Sheila Mae Perez. SEA Games 2001 heptathlon silver medalist Percila Molina.

Marathon aces Stella Mamac-Diaz, Monalisa Ambasa and Jho-an Banayag.

Singapore karatedo champion Pretie Joy Goc-Ong.

They were among those few hailed as So Kim Cheng Female Athlete of the Year once or twice in the past.

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Perez, a two-time Olympian, was even elevated to the Hall of Fame having been a recipient of the award for the third time.

The recent addition to the elite cast was Aimie Mendoza Panes, a 21-year-old judo player, who received the highest female athlete honor in the 16th So Kim Cheng Sports Awards Night held at the Pantawan Hall, Pagcor, Grand Regal Hotel.

She received the plaque from Dexter So, grandson late sports patron So Kim Cheng, and SKC Foundation president So Peng Kee.

She was congratulated by Davao City Sports Council, Inc. (DCSCI) Peter Laviña, Davao City councilors Melchor Quitain, Jimmy Dureza and Emmanuela Galicia and former city councilor Nilo Abellera. Quitan represented Mayor Sara Duterte as guest speaker during the awarding rites.

Cha-Cha, as Panes is fondly called, also got a brand new Nokia phone courtesy of SKC Awards sponsor Columbia Computer Center.

A senior BS Criminology student at the University of Mindanao, Cha-Cha was named to the award for bagging a gold medal for Davao Region in the CHED National Games held in Manila in February this year.

She said, "I am so happy and blessed to receive the award."

The five-foot-three judoka, who hails from Pres. Roxas, Cotabato, only learned the sport when she was 17.

"I first engaged into the sport through my Criminology subject, Defense Tactics. That's when I got discovered by my coach. I took up Criminology because I wanted to be a law enforcer someday," she told this writer.

In 2007, she competed in the National Open Judo Championships in Manila where she placed fourth. She then copped a silver medal in the 2008 National Prisaa Championship in Zamboanga City.

She captured back-to-back golds in the Araw ng Dabaw and Kadayawan judo competitions sponsored by the city government of Davao in 2009 before sweeping the city and regional Prisaa titles in her category this year.

She got another gold in the 2010 Araw ng Dabaw judofest in March.

She shared, "I'm enjoying judo so much. It also helped me pursue my studies as a varsity scholar."

But she admitted the hardwork she puts into her sport and academics saying that mornings for her are devoted to training while she attends classes during afternoons to evenings.

"Judo had taught me to be more confident and achieve my goals through discipline," she added.

She dreams of becoming the female version of RP's John Baylon, saying: "I really want to be an Olympian, too."