Hidilyn Diaz makes history. After almost 100 years in contending at the Olympics, the Philippines finally won its first Olympic Gold medal. Hidilyn Diaz earned Gold in the women’s 55-kilogram weightlifting event at the Japan 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. She lifted a total of 224 kilograms, outperforming the Chinese world record holder of the past several years, Liao Qiuyun who ended up getting the silver medal with her total of 223 kilograms.
In Diaz’s interviews with the media, she attributed her victory first to God, the very cause and reason, she emphasized, for her ending up where she is. And yes, where this 30-year-old is now is at the top of her sport, the crème of the country’s pride, the toast of celebrations, and a bright, distinguished place in Philippine history. She remarked that her victory also is due to the tremendous help and encouragement from her family and friends, the support from the nation and several organizations and, not to forget, the very hard work she had to undergo for this competition, in the midst of the pandemic. Testimony to the resourcefulness and determination of her competitive spirit, not having actual weights for her practices, she persevered to prepare for the event by lifting heavy water jugs as substitutes for weights. A glorious yet humble win.
Diaz, the new world’s record holder in women’s weightlifting, garnered the silver medal in that event in the 2016 Olympics at Rio de Janeiro. The Philippines now has a total of 11 Olympic medals won since its first Olympic participation in 1924.
A toast to the Olympic spirit
At this juncture, I take the opportunity to mention one other Philippine contender at the Tokyo Olympics, Margielyn Didal, who competed in women’s street skateboarding.