By: Mark Giongco – Reporter /INQUIRER.net / July 26, 2021
MANILA, Philippines — Carrying the weight of a country long seeking for Olympic glory, Hidilyn Diaz finally ended the seemingly interminable quest Monday night.
Diaz, in her fourth straight Olympics, delivered the Philippines’ breakthrough gold medal after conquering the women’s 55 kilograms weightlifting competition at the Tokyo Olympics.
The 30-year-old pride of Zamboanga City tallied 97kg in snatch but it was her Olympic record lift of 127kg in the clean & jerk that propelled her at the helm.
Her total lift of 224kg also set an Olympic record, beating a formidable field that included China’s world record holder Liao Quiyun.
Liao finished with the silver medal at 223kg. Zulfiya Chinshanlo of Kazakhstan claimed the bronze with 213kg.
In Rio 2016, Diaz won the silver medal that ended the Philippines’ 20-year drought.
She spent the last year and half training in exile in Malaysia because of COVID-19 restrictions, so dedicated was she to claim an unprecedented gold in her fourth and probably final Games.
Diaz’s medal was just the 11th by the Philippines since the country first took part in the Olympics in 1924, and now the only gold.
Diaz became just the second athlete from her country to win multiple Olympics medals, joining swimmer Teofilo Yldefonzo who won bronze in the men’s 200m breaststroke in 1928 and 1932. Agence France-Presse