By Adrian Stewart Co
Filipina weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz ended the Philippines’ close to century of quest for Olympic gold after ruling the women’s 55-kilogram category of 2020 Tokyo Olympics weightlifting on Monday night at the Tokyo International Forum in Tokyo, Japan.
The Zamboanga City-native Diaz delivered the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal with her 224-kilogram total—97-kilogram in the snatch and Olympic record 127-kilogram in clean & jerk—to beat Qiuyun Liao of China, who settled for silver with 223 kilograms.
The 30-year-old Diaz, a silver medalist in the 2016 Rio Olympics, successfully cleared her first and second attempts at snatch with 94 and 97 kilograms, respectively, before getting a no-lift decision on her third try at 99 kilograms.
In the clean and jerk, Diaz successfully lifted 119-kilogram in her first attempt while also lifting 124-kilogram in the second attempt to momentarily take the lead from Liao at 221-220.
Liao has retaken the lead at 223-221 in her third and final clean & jerk lift after carrying a 126-kilogram but Diaz went for the gold and Olympic glory in her third lift with 127 kilograms.
“Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!’ a teary-eyed Diaz said. “Sana maalala nila na may isang Hidilyn Diaz na lumalabas, isang Filipina galing sa Zamboanga City na napatunayan niya na kahit galing ka sa hirap, kaya mong manalo sa Olympics.”
Aside from her historic gold medal feat, Diaz will also become P35.5 million richer from the rewards she will receive—P10 million from national government, P10 million from PLDT’s Manny V. Pangilinan, P10 million from San Miguel Corporation’s Ramon Ang, P3 million from deputy speaker Mikey Romero, and P2.5 million from Zamboanga City government.
Diaz said that she is still contemplating whether to compete anew in the Olympics in 2024 as her goal is only set for the upcoming Southeast Asian Games and Asian Games.
“Sa akin, alam kong kaya ko pa, pero ngayon target ko hanggang Asian Games. Then after that, tingnan ko ulit. Reflect,” Diaz said. “Kung kaya, tuloy-tuloy. Kung hindi, then baka ‘yun na. Ang haba-haba na ng serbisyo ko sa weightlfting, baka time na.”/ASC, WDJ