Hidilyn Diaz gave the Philippines a reason to celebrate as she ended a 20-year Olympic drought after securing a silver medal in the women’s weightlifting event in the Rio Olympics.
The 25-year old Diaz, a native of Zamboanga City, which is a war-torn province in the Philippines, did not only win the silver but also the hearts of her compatriots as she became the second female athlete to win an Olympic medal behind bowler Arianne Cerdena. This is the first time that the Philippines won a medal in the Olympics since the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Rio Olympics is Diaz’s third and this time, she will not go home empty-handed as she took the silver medal in the 53-kg division. Aside from Rio, Diaz also competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics.
On her third try, Diaz, who finished 6th in the snatch event, managed to take a spot at the podium as she managed to clear in the clean and jerk with a total of 112 kg.
Despite failing in her attempt in the 117 kg., Diaz’s performance was enough to secure her the silver behind Chinese-Taipei’s Hsu Shu-Ching won the gold while Korea’s Yoon Jin-Hee settled for the bronze.
While everyone is celebrating the achievement Diaz made, it could not be said for her counterpart Nestor Colonia, who fell short in the men’s 66 kg.
Other winners in weightlifting event saw Sopita Tanasan of Thailand taking the gold in the women’s 48 kg. while Indonesia’s Sri Wahyuni and Japan’s Hiromi Miyake settled for the silver and bronze medals, in that order.
Meanwhile, Qingquan Long of China won the gold medal in the men’s 56 kg. as Yun Chol Om of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Thailand’s Sinphet Kruaithong took the silver and bronze medals, respectively.
Aside from weightlifting, the Philippines is also seeing action in boxing, athletics, table tennis, golf, judo, swimming, and taekwondo. Diaz’s achievement brings hope to Filipino athletes that hope is not all lost as they continue their campaign in the Rio Olympics.
Photo Courtesy: Official International Weightlifting Federation website