Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz became the first Olympic gold medallist for the Philippines. The Philippines has finally taken the Olympic gold after 97 years.
Diaz won the women’s 55-kilogram category in sensational style. She defeated the Chinese favourite and world record holder, Liao Qiuyun.
Diaz made 97-127-224 to beat Liao by a mere 1kg.
She is the first non-Chinese weightlifting gold medallist at Tokyo 2020.
The 30-year-old was voted her nation’s top sports star after winning a silver medal at Rio 2016. Her win then was the first Olympic medal in any sport for the Philippines in 20 years. It was also the first time a Filipino weightlifter stood on the Olympic podium.
This win occurs at Diaz’s fourth Olympic Games.
Diaz says qualifying was tricky.
She found the qualifying process extremely tough. However, she knew that there was one target above all others through all her hard work.
“It’s a challenging path, but I know I can do it.”
Cutting weight has always been a challenge for Diaz – “I love our food in the Philippines,” she said – and she had to cut off her hair to lose a few more grams before weighing in at the 2015 IWF World Championships.
“It was hard – the mental part, the physical part, the emotional part,” she said.
She struggled at times during qualifying, especially during lockdown when she was training far away from home in Malaysia.
She had a plan after qualifying.
“I just really need to beat the Chinese athletes,” she said after qualifying.
That much became clear after only two lifts, by which time Diaz had shown she was in top form.
Her second snatch of 97kg was her best since she lifted in the old 58kg category in London 2012.
Like Liao, who holds world records for clean and jerk and total, Diaz missed only one of her six attempts.
Liao must have thought she had done enough when she made her final attempt at 226kg, but Diaz outdid her with that last lift.
Philippines President congratulates here.
The Philippines Presidential palace issued a statement immediately, congratulating her on her win.
It said: “The Palace congratulates Hidilyn Diaz for bringing pride and glory to the Philippines for winning the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal.
“The entire Filipino nation is proud of you.”
She is the first Filipina athlete to win medals at two Olympic Games.