The almost 100-year wait is over. Filipina weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz clinches the elusive Olympic gold medal.
Diaz made history after ruling the women's 55-kilogram (kg) weightlifting competition at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday, July 26.
The 30-year-old Zamboanga City native scored 97 kg in snatch and 127 kg in the clean and jerk–an Olympic record–to rack up a total of 224 kg, upsetting China’s world record holder Liao Qiuyun.
Prior to the result of the tournament, Liao settled for silver with a slim margin of 223 kg total (97kg snatch, 126 kg clean and jerk) while Kazakhstan’s Zulfiya Chinshanlo took the bronze at 213 kg (90kg snatch, 123kg clean and jerk).
Diaz had previously won a 2016 Rio Olympics silver medal in the 53-kg class.
In an interview with Gretchen Ho of Cignal TV, Diaz said she still couldn't believe she won the gold medal.
"Hindi ako makapaniwala. Hindi ako makapaniwala. Na-sorpresa ako na nagawa ko 'yun. Kakaiba si God,” she said.
"Sa totoo lang, kinakabahan ako. Baka hindi ko magawa. Pero the whole day, the whole week, sinasabi ko na I believe, I believe. Saka prepared ako," Diaz added
The Tokyo Olympics were Diaz's fourth stint in the Games. She competed in the 2008, 2012 and the 2016 editions of the quadrennial event.
"Sa lahat ng pinagdaanan ko, pinrepare ako ni God to be strong today," she said.
Diaz won her first Asian Games gold in 2018 after dominating the women's 53-kg division and received her first Southeast Asian Games gold in 2019 after a win in the women's 55-kg.
A Rappler report said Diaz is set to receive P33 million worth of incentives from the Philippine Sports Commission (P10 million), Manny Pangilinan (P10 million) and Ramon Ang (P10 million) and Deputy Speaker of the House Mikee Romero (P3 million).
The Philippines first participated in the Olympics in 1924. Prior to Diaz's feat, the country only won three silvers and 10 bronze medals in the 31 editions.IMT
Photo by Agence France Presse