Culture

Hidilyn Diaz Wins First-Ever Olympic Gold Medal for the Philippines

Claiming first place in the women’s 55 kg category for weightlifting.

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Hidilyn Diaz Wins First-Ever Olympic Gold Medal for the Philippines

Claiming first place in the women’s 55 kg category for weightlifting.

Hidilyn Diaz has made history by becoming the first athlete to win the Philippines its first Olympic gold medal.

The 30-year-old weightlifter competed in the women’s 55 kg (121 lbs.) category for weightlifting at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on July 26. Marking her fourth time participating in the Games, Diaz has now lifted a combined total of 224 kg (493 lbs.), which is an Olympic record. Liao Qiuyun from China claimed silver with 223 kg (491 lbs.), while Zulfiya Chinshanlo from Kazakhstan placed bronze with 213 kg (469 lbs.).

“I had to go through a lot. I had a hard time sustaining my form after winning the [2016 Rio] Olympics, it was difficult to sustain,” Diaz told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “My life was a mess during that time. Then, I decided I have to stop in school to focus on my training,” she added and continued: “I sacrificed a lot. I wasn’t able to be with my mother and father for how many months and years and then, of course, training was excruciating. But God had a plan.”

Back in 2016, Diaz took home silver in the women’s 53 kg (116 lbs.) category, ending her country’s 20-year medal dry spell. Since entering the Olympics in 1924, the Philippines has participated in every Summer Olympic Games, excluding the U.S.-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics.

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