Hidilyn Diaz has won the Philippines their first Gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games hosted in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Three days into the Asian games and the Philippines have already collected four bronze medals and one gold – thanks to Diaz. The Filipino weightlifter reached the number one spot in the competition after lifting a collective 207kg in the women’s 53kg event. Her win provided some relief to the Philippines after a devastating loss against China by 2 points during their men’s basketball game.
Diaz bested eleven other competitors in the 53kg event and won first place by one kilogramme. Diaz Snatched 92kg and 115kg in the Clean and Jerk, where her opponent Kristina Shermetova of Turkmenistan Snatched 93kg but only lifted 113kg in the Clean and Jerk totaling a lift of 206kg.
As a member of the Air Force as a First Class Airwoman, Diaz received a salute and special citation from the Philippines Air Force branch. The 27 year old athlete teared up during the awards ceremony where the Philippine national anthem was played and Diaz was seen mouthing the words to the anthem.
Diaz runs her own weightlifting gym and is seeking better training facilities for the nation’s athletes. Her win has solidified a reward of P6 million in cash incentives which when broken down is seen as P2 million donation by the Philippine Olympics Committee, another P2 million granted by the Philippine Government through RA No.10699, P1 million from the Siklab Foundation, and lastly another P1 million from the Philippine’s Ambassador to Indonesia, Lee Hong. This funding can be used to expand and update Diaz’s gym to support other Filipino weightlifters.
Previously, Diaz competed in the Rio Olympics in 2016 and received Silver for her efforts made. At the time, she was able to grant the Philippines its first Olympic medal in 20 years despite coming second. Diaz has stated in interviews that she is aiming to compete and earn Gold in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, where she will retire from the sport afterward.
Hidilyn Diaz is from Zamboanga City, an underdeveloped coastal village in the southern Philippines, where she began her interest in weightlifting as an extension from part of her daily activities of carrying five-gallon jugs of water for her family to cook, drink, and bathe with.
Upon hearing of her victory, both the President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo publicly congratulated the nation’s athlete citing Diaz’s perseverance and efforts to strive for better no matter the individual’s circumstances.