Thursday, January 27, 2022

Weightlifter Diaz wins first Olympic gold for Philippines

Tokyo: Weightlifter Hidillin Diaz created history on Monday when she became the first athlete from the Philippines to win an Olympic gold medal.

The 30-year-old Rio 2016 silver medalist from the southern city of Zamboanga made her dream come true in the women’s 55kg category at the Tokyo International Forum, setting her personal best to beat world record holder Liao Qiyun of China, who was content with silver. Had to do .

With Liao setting a target of 223kg, just four kilograms shy of his own world record, Diaz faced a final clean and jerk of 127kg to win – completely more than the 5kg he had put in the competition. had achieved.

With massive effort he hoisted a huge Olympic-record weight and tears of joy began to flow before the bar slid to the floor after the winning effort.

Liao won the silver medal, while Kazakhstan’s Zulfia Chinshanlo took the bronze in the top two.

“It’s unbelievable, it’s a dream, come true,” Diaz told AFP as the Philippines Air Force woman shed more tears on the podium as she saluted her flag and sang the national anthem.

Hidilyn Diaz of the Philippines, gold medalist, holds her medal on the podium for the victory ceremony of the women’s 55kg weightlifting event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo International Forum in Tokyo on July 26, 2021.

“I want to say to the younger generation in the Philippines, ‘You too can have this dream of gold,'” Diaz said. “That’s how I started and eventually I was able to do it.”

Diaz had already been assured a place in her country’s sporting folklore, along with the likes of boxing icon Manny Pacquiao, as the only woman from the vast archipelago to win an Olympic medal – her surprise silver five years earlier. The 20-year medal drought was broken. Philippines.

Diaz spent the past year and a half training in exile in Malaysia due to COVID restrictions, so she was dedicated to claiming unprecedented gold in her fourth and perhaps final Games.

“I look forward to going back to the Philippines to be with my family because I really miss them,” she said, once again with emotion. “I look forward to enjoying my life now after so many sacrifices.”

Diaz’s medal was just the 11th by the Philippines since she first competed in the Olympics in 1924, and is now the only gold.

Joining swimmer Teofilo Yeldefonzo, who won bronze medals in the men’s 200m breaststroke in 1928 and 1932, Diaz became the second athlete in her country to win multiple Olympic medals.

She became a national hero for her exploits in Rio and her profile rose after winning the Asian Games gold in Jakarta in 2018.

But on that occasion China was suspended by the International Weightlifting Federation for multiple doping violations.

China has been dominating since its return later in 2018 and has so far done it in Tokyo in the absence of fierce rivals North Korea.

Hidilyn Diaz of the Philippines competes in the women's 55kg weightlifting event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games...
Hidilyn Diaz of the Philippines participates in the women’s 55kg weightlifting event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo International Forum on July 26, 2021 in Tokyo.

The first three weightlifting golds were all won by Chinese athletes – Hou Zhihui in the women’s 49kg on Saturday and the men’s winners Li Fabin (61kg) and Chen Lijun (67kg) on ​​Sunday.

Liao was complacent in the necklace as the Chinese gold rush in weightlifting was stopped in astonishing fashion.

“I really respect Diaz as an opponent because he did the best, really better than him and that’s the best,” Liao said. “She did a better job and it’s good for all the people who were supporting her.”

Diaz, better known as “Haidi,” has a huge social media following in her home country, which is set to grow.

Internet platforms quickly replaced President Rodrigo Duterte’s final address to the nation as the country’s top trending topic on Twitter.

“Congratulations, Sergeant Hidilyn Diaz!” Tweeted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines where the lifter is enlisted.

Vice President Lenny Robredo said: “Big win for the Philippines! Thank you, Hidillin, for making us proud.”

Duterte’s spokesman, Harry Roque, congratulated Diaz for “bringing pride and glory to the Philippines.”


Nation World News Desk
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