By: Olivia Ong
Filipinos took to social media to celebrate as Hidilyn Diaz made history by becoming the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medalist.
Despite the many challenges she had to endure for many years like lack of funding for her training, false accusations on destabilizing the government and online bashing of trolls, the 30-year-old weightlifter from Zamboanga triumphed and scored a total of 224kg, with 97kg for a snatch and an Olympic record of 127kg for the clean and jerk that sealed her win.
In the final moments of the competition, it all came down to Diaz and China’s Liao Qiuyun having one attempt left, with Qiuyun taking the lead with 126kg. Deciding that she had nothing left to lose, Diaz declared 127kg for the clean and jerk and successfully lifted it.
Hidilyn Diaz said that she never imagined that she would be able to lift 127kg after all her failed attempts during her training.
“Nata-try ko na siya sa training pero di ko pa nagagawa. Every time tina-try ko, di ko nagagawa, umiiyak ako, sobrang lugi ako sa mga training pag ‘di ko nagagawa pero at least na-try ko sa training,” Diaz said in a press conference on July 27.
(I tried lifting it during training, but I wasn’t able to. Every time I tried it, I couldn’t do it, so I cried and I felt that I got the short end of the stick when I failed, but at least I’ve tried it.)
“Pero di ko na-expect na mabuhat ko iyon kahapon,” she added. “Siguro si God iyon and all the people who prayed kahapon. Sobrang thankful ako sa lahat ng nagdasal and nagnobena.”
(I didn’t expect to lift it yesterday. I guess that was God and all the people who prayed for me yesterday. I’m thankful to those who prayed and did the novena.)
Many Filipinos, including politicians, celebrities and other public figures, congratulated her on her victory and praised her for bringing the Philippines its first Olympic gold.
Our first ever Olympic gold medal was bagged by a woman! Congratulations Hidilyn Diaz! 💪🏼#Tokyo2020. The whole country is so proud of you! 🇵🇭#PHI #LabanPilipinas #TeamPhilippines #Philippines pic.twitter.com/tj64vjdFbZ
— GRACE POE (@SenGracePOE) July 26, 2021
Mabuhay ka Hidilyn!!!! 🏅🏅🏅🏅🇵🇭🇵🇭🇵🇭 https://t.co/bJPCDjv6NC
— Catriona Gray (@catrionaelisa) July 26, 2021
Lahat yata tayo, naluha din noong natapos si Hidilyn! You inspire us and make us all proud. Maraming salamat, at congratulations sa pag-uwi ng first ever Olympic Gold ng Pilipinas! 🇵🇭🥇 https://t.co/98MENfpTxR
— Chel Diokno (@ChelDiokno) July 26, 2021
(I think all of us teared up when Hidilyn finished. You inspire us and make us all proud. Thank you so much and congratulations for bringing home the Philippines’ first ever Olympic Gold.)
First Filipino to win an Olympic gold!!! Omg we were screaming at home! https://t.co/55TqbVcwE4
— Ella Loves Boardgames 🏳️🌈💖💜💙 (@ellalovesbg) July 26, 2021
— Kuya Matt (@MatValdeavilla) July 26, 2021
AHHH MAJOR PINOY PRIDE MOMENT 😭🏆🏆🏆 https://t.co/5QcRrfctu7
— Yvanna (@yvannavien) July 26, 2021
— Grace⁷, a dancing fool #PermissiontoDance (@GrayLovesPurpl1) July 26, 2021
i had goosebumps watching this live https://t.co/X5viDNYeTO
— peace – stream rose (@eggbunana) July 26, 2021
Finallly, great news today!! Congratulations, Hidilyn Diaz! 🥇 🎉 https://t.co/bYvHqvj29Y
— m (@mayadroit) July 26, 2021
Middleweight boxer Eumir Marcial, a fellow competitor in this year’s Olympics, also took to Instagram and wrote “Congratulations Ate Hidilyn Diaz Oly Speechless ako ngayon sa sobrang saya. Mabuhay ka Ate.” along with a picture of both of them in the Athlete’s Village.
(Congratulations Hidilyn Diaz. I’m so happy right now that I’m speechless. More power to you.)
Apart from these, Diaz also received a P14M condo unit in Eastwood City from Megaworld, a house and lot in Tagaytay from Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, and a total of P35.5M.
Hidilyn Diaz has truly made the country proud as not only the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medalist, but also as the first Filipina double Olympic medalist after her silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Featured photos from Rappler and The Manila Times