Hidilyn Diaz, one of two Filipina weightlifters that are representing the Philippines in the 2020 Olympics, has bagged the country’s first-ever gold medal in the prestigious sports competition held in Tokyo, Japan.

On Monday (July 26), Diaz ended the Philippines’ 97-year gold medal drought with her world-record shattering performance in the women’s 55kg weightlifting.

The Zamboanga-native won with a total of 224 kg – 97 kg for snatch and an Olympic record 127 kg for the clean and jerk. Meanwhile, silver medalist Liao Qiuyun of China finished with 223 kg.

“Sa totoo lang kinakabahan ako baka hindi ko magawa pero the whole day, the whole week sinasabi ko, ‘I believe, I believe’ atsaka prepared ako. Sa lahat ng pinagdaanan ko pinrepare ako ni God to be strong today. Thankful ako sa Team HD na ginawa akong malakas,” Diaz shared after her emotional win.

“Actually, hindi ko alam na Olympic record ‘yung ginagawa ko. Hindi rin ako makapaniwala na nandoon ‘yung pangalan ko sa Olympic record. I’m really thankful,” she added.

The Philippines first entered the Olympics in 1924 through David Nepomuceno, who featured in the 100m and 200m sprint. But it was four years later – in 1928 – that the country managed to win its first medal through Teofilo Yldefonso’s third-place finish in the men’s 200m breaststroke in Amsterdam.

In 1964, the Philippines went on to win silver when Anthony Villanueva placed second in the men’s featherweight boxing and again in 1996 with Mansueto Velasco in the light flyweight boxing

In 2016, Diaz broke the 20-year medal drought by taking home another silver in the 53kg weightlifting category at the Olympics held in Rio.

Once she gets home, Diaz will be entitled to Php 33 million in incentives.

Filipino business tycoons Manuel V. Pangilinan and Ramon Ang both threw in Php 10 million, Cong. Mikee Romero pitched in Php 3 million, and in accordance with Republic Act 10699, Diaz will receive Php 10 million for her gold-medal finish in the Olympics.

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