Filipino weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz made history on Monday by getting the Philippines’ first-ever Olympic gold meda.
Diaz bested the competition in the 55-kilogram division held at the Tokyo International Forum in Tokyo on Monday.
Besides becoming the first Filipino gold medallist, Diaz also is the first two-time Olympic medallist in the country, since she got a silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Among the first to congratulate Diaz was Koshikawa Kazuhiko, the Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines, who said over Twitter: “My biggest congratulations to Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz for clinching PH’s first-ever gold medal at Tokyo 2020. Your hardwork and perserverance all led to this historic moment. I join the Filipino nation in celebrating this milestone.”
Diaz admitted pressure before Monday’s competition. “It’s a lot of pressure,” Diaz said as she had to face world-record holder Liao Qiuyun of China.
Liao, at 26 is four years younger than Diaz, and owns the world records in the clean and jerk (129 kgs) and total lift (227).
Prior to Diaz winning the country’s first Olympic gold, the best that the country could get were silvers courtesy of boxers Anthony Villanueva in 1964 and Mansueto Velasco in 1996. Diaz also got a silver in 2016 in Rio.
Also, bowler Arianne Cerdena won a gold medal in the Seoul Games in 1988 but bowling was considered a demonstration event rather than a regular Olympic event that year.