Hidilyn Diaz marked history with her unprecedented feat, bagging the first ever gold medal for the Philippines at the Olympic games. She became a Filipino sports legend.
In a stunning turn of events, Diaz on Monday evening singlehandedly lifted Filipino morale when she landed the top podium for the 55-kilogram category of women’s weightlifting at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“This proves we can do it. They said this was impossible. I thought this was impossible,” she told the Inquirer reporter, Francis T.J. Ochoa.
Breaking almost a century of Olympic gold drought, Diaz cemented an Olympic record of 127 kg in a clean and jerk set, with an overall lift of 224 kg, clinching the gold against China’s Liao Qiuyun, who previously owned the world record of 227 kg set during the 2019 World Championships.
Settling on silver was Quiyun, trailed by Uzbekistan’s Muattar Nabieva with bronze.
Diaz had been a showstopper in weightlifting competitions ever since she started her career during the 2002 Batang Pinoy that was held in Puerto Princesa.
“Batang Pinoy 2002 was my first weightlifting competitions at ginanap ito sa Puerto Princesa rin. May message is you will never know what will happen to your future, like me I was just a kid, masaya lang makalaro at makasama sa laro. Ipagpatuloy lang nila ginagawa nila, magaral at maglaro ng sports, mangarap ng mataas. Tiwala lang” said Diaz in a 2019 interview with Palawan News.
Coach Catz Diaz, Hidilyn’s cousin and former team captain of Zamboanga’s weightlifting team who trained Hidilyn in their hometown of Zamboanga when she was 10 years old, shared Hidilyn’s win citing she had always been “destined for greatness”.
“I am so grateful and sobrang happy ngayon nagbigay ng napakalaking karangalan sa ating bansa kahit [marami] ang bumabatikos sa kanya. Binigay niya ang lahat para sa ating bayan, hanggang ngayon iyak ako ng iyak sa saya,” Coach Catz told Palawan News on Monday evening.