Weightlifter Wins Philippines’ First-Ever Olympic Gold Medal

Weightlifter Wins Philippines’ First-Ever Olympic Gold Medal

It was a thrilling third day of action at the Tokyo Games during the women’s 55-kilogram (kg) weightlifting competition. Hidilyn Diaz, a four-time Olympian, stopped China’s bid for a perfect record in weightlifting at the Tokyo Games. She overtook fellow olympian, Liao Qiuyun of China, on her last lift in the clean and jerk. Her combined weight (244 kg) amounted to one more kilo than her competitor. 

Athletes from the Philippines have competed at every edition of the Summer Olympics since 1924, save for the exception of boycotting the 1980 Moscow Games. Over the course of the country’s near century long participation in the Summer Games, it has only amassed three silver and seven bronze medals. 30-year old Diaz actually won one of those silver medals in the 2016 Olympic Games, making the country’s first podium appearance in 20 years. This year, she became the country’s first ever Olympic gold medalist. 

China won all three events in weightlifting at the Tokyo Games leading up to the women’s 55 kg event. Qiuyun failed to match her own world record of 223 kg, but Diaz was able to lift a combined weight of 224 kg, setting a new world record to boot. After confidently pressing up 127 kg in the clean and jerk, she dropped the barbell and burst into tears, realizing the glory of her country’s first Olympic gold medal achievement.

Response To Her Victory

In response to her own victory, Diaz said, “I am 30 years old and I thought it would be like going down, my performance, but I was shocked I was able to do it.” The Philippines’ presidential spokesperson gave a statement about Diaz bringing pride and glory to the Philippines. He also added, “Congratulations, Hidilyn. The entire Filipino nation is proud of you.”

During the medal ceremony, the Filipino national anthem played for the first time in the history of the country’s participation at the Olympic Games. With her country’s anthem playing, she proudly clutched her medal on top of the podium, tears streaming down her face and a smile from ear to ear. 

Diaz’s Road To The Tokyo Games

In January 2020, Diaz won the gold medal in the women’s 55 kg event at the Roma 2020 World Cup in Rome, Italy. While traveling to Peru to compete in an Olympic qualifying event, however, she was detained in Malaysia due to COVID-19 outbreak. The government then issued a travel ban and she got stuck in Malaysia for about five months. During that time, Diaz built a gym and trained with water bottles, using water in place of weights. Clearly, her determination did not waiver, as she stood victorious on the podium after this year’s dominant performance. 

According to Diaz, she plans to compete during the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris, France. Let’s see what she’s able lift in a few years!



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