97 YEARS in the making! Philippines win their first EVER Olympic gold medal as weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz breaks down in tears in women’s 55kg – and victory wins her £470,000 and a HOUSE from the government!
Hidilyn Diaz wrote herself into Philippines sporting history after winning her country’s first ever Olympic gold medal.
Diaz, an Air Force servicewoman in the Philippines, has been living in exile in Malaysia due to the Covid pandemic and she was reduced to tears after dramatically winning gold in the women’s 55kg weightlifting class.
The 30-year-old took gold with her final lift of the day, obliterating her personal best to see off world record holder Liao Qiuyun of China.
Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz made history to win the Philippines’ first ever Olympic gold medal
Diaz claimed victory on her final lift of the day to defeat Chinese favourite Liao Qiuyun
Diaz burst into tears after the gold medal was confirmed having made history for her nation
Diaz took silver in Rio in the 53kg class to end her nation’s 20-year wait for a medal but she went one better in Tokyo and could barely contain her emotions at hearing the national anthem.
Bloomberg reported that victory secured more than just a gold medal for Diaz.
She claimed 33 million pesos (£477,000) in cash from the government and several prominent businesses, as well as a house.
Prior to the Games the Philippine Sports Commission guaranteed a 10 million-peso incentive for every Olympic gold medal won.
It was an outpouring of emotion for Diaz having spent the last two years exiled in Malaysia
The Philippines first competed at an Olympic Games in 1924 – 97 years ago – when David Nepomuceno featured in 100m and 200m sprint races.
Victory in Tokyo is only her nation’s 11th ever Olympic medal.
Kazakhstan’s Zulfiya Chinshanlo took the bronze medal, 10kg adrift of the top two.
‘It’s unbelievable, it’s a dream, come true,’ Diaz told AFP.
‘I want to say to the young generation in the Philippines, ‘You can have this dream of gold too’.
‘This is how I started and finally I was able to do it.’
Diaz (middle) defeated Liao Qiuyun (left) and Kazakhstan’s Zulfiya Chinshanlo (right)
China had won all three weightlifting events so far and were looking to sweep the gold medals in the eight competitions its athletes entered.
Olympic rules state that no country can enter more than four men’s and four women’s events.
Diaz, who is the daughter of a tricycle driver, added: ‘I’m looking forward to enjoying life because I have been in Malaysia for, I don’t know, almost two years, so I’m really thankful I can go home now and celebrate with my family and the people who support me.’