Jul 26, 2021 - Sports

Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz wins the Philippines' first Olympic gold

Gold medallist Philippines' Hidilyn Diaz stands on the podium

Gold medallist Philippines' Hidilyn Diaz stands on the podium for the victory ceremony of the women's 55kg weightlifting competition during the Tokyo Games. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP via Getty Images

Olympian Hidilyn Diaz on Monday became the first athlete to ever win a gold medal for the Philippines after besting the competition in her women's weightlifting weight class, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: In the 97 years since the Philippines first entered the Olympics in 1924, the country had not won a gold medal at the Games until Diaz's multi-record breaking lift, per ESPN.

The big picture: Diaz lifted a record-breaking 127 kg (280 lbs) in the clean and jerk event, beating even her training session lifts, which had maxed out at 125 kg (275.6 lbs), she told the Times.

  • The total of her two lifts, in the clean and jerk and snatch, also broke another world record, per the Times.
  • Diaz won the silver medal at the 2016 Rio Games, when China's Liao Qiuyun took home the gold. On Monday the latter took home silver to Diaz's gold, per Reuters.

What they're saying: “It’s unbelievable,” Diaz told the Times. “I expected to win, but when you hold this already, it’s like, Wow, I never thought this would happen today.”

  • “I am 30 years old and I thought it would be like going down, my performance, but I was shocked I was able to do it,” Diaz said, per Reuters.
  • The Philippines’ presidential spokesperson, Harry Roque, tweeted congratulations, adding, "The entire Filipino nation is proud of you,”
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