Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz has made history at the Tokyo Olympics, becoming the gold medal-winner from the Philippines.
The Philippines first competed in the Olympic Games in Paris in 1924. Despite the country’s longstanding attendance, it had not grabbed a gold medal in any event. Now, Diaz has written herself into the history books, having won the 55kg category in Women’s Weightlifting.
This wasn’t the only record she achieved, as she also set an Olympic record with her two successful lifts, which have a combined weight of 224kg.
The landmark win came after a tight battle with China’s Liao Qiuyun, who is the world record holder in the event. During the snatch lift, where competitors attempt to lift a weight above their head in one clean motion, both athletes lifted 97kg. After this, Liao lifted 126kg, but Diaz managed to go on to lift 127 kilograms.
After winning Diaz celebrated tearfully with her coaches before taking the podium. Diaz, who serves in the Philippine Air Force, gave a salute during her anthem.
Speaking to the Philippine Daily Inquirer after the victory, Diaz said:
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.
Previously, the 30-year-old athlete had made history in the Olympics in Rio by becoming the first woman from the Philippines to get a silver medal at the games.
Many in the Philippines admire Diaz’s incredible story, which has seen her come out of poverty in her childhood to pursue her dreams, culminating in winning a gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
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