Weightlifter and airwoman Hidilyn Diaz earned the admiration of the military after she bagged the country’s first ever Olympic gold medal (women’s 55kg) in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Monday night (PST), July 26.
Diaz was recruited into the Philippine Air Force (PAF) in 2013 through the military’s Direct Enlistment Program. Currently, she has a rank of sergeant.
“The AFP congratulates the first Filipino Olympic gold medalist, Sgt. Hidilyn Diaz. Her masterful performance in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where she also set an Olympic record in the 55kg division, brought pride and glory to the AFP and the country,” said AFP Chief of Staff, Gen. Cirilito Sobejana.
Diaz earned the top spot after lifting an Olympic record of 124 kilograms in her second attempt at the clean and jerk category. In total, the Zamboanga City native lifted an Olympic record of 224 kilograms.
“We are now more than ever inspired by her exceptional hardwork, perseverance, and dedication. We wish her the best moving forward. Soar high, airwoman!” Sobejana added.
Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Maynard Mariano, PAF spokesperson, lauded Diaz’ for getting the country’s first Olympic gold medal.
“The Philippine Air Force congratulates Sgt. Hidilyn F. Diaz PAF for bagging the first Olympic gold medal for winning the women’s 55 kg category for weightlifting at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 on July 26, 2021,” Mariano said.
“She also broke an Olympic record for lifting a combined weight of 224 kg. Congratulations, Sgt. Diaz!” he stated.
The praises were a stark contrast from the threats and insults that the bemedalled weightlifter received two years ago when she was tagged as a coup plotter by the Duterte administration.
In May 2019, then Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo released a matrix containing dozens of names of personalities — including Diaz — who were supposedly involved in the so-called “Oust Duterte” plot to destabilize the government.
Diaz had denied being part of the ouster plot as she expressed fears for her life after being a subject of threats online.