Filipinos celebrated the historic win of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, who ended the 97-year drought for the Philippines in its quest for an Olympic gold medal.
Diaz, 30, a native of Zamboanga City, ruled the 55-kilogram category in women’s weightlifting at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on July 26. She set an Olympic record of 224kgs total lift, combining her 127kgs in clean and jerk – also an Olympic mark – and 97kgs in snatch.
She bested China’s world record holder Liao Qiuyun, who finished with a total of 223kgs following her 97kgs in snatch and 126kgs in clean and jerk to earn a silver, while Kazakhstan’s Chinshanlo Zulfiya placed third for the bronze with a total of 213kgs – 90kgs in snatch and 123kgs in clean and jerk.
Local stars praised the Filipino athlete of the hour.
“Congratulations @hidilyndiaz All that hard work has finally paid off. First gold medal for the Philippines!!,” hunk actor Derek Ramsay wrote on Instagram.
Seasoned actress Jodi Sta. Maria thanked Hidilyn for making the Filipinos proud.
“Maraming salamat @hidilyndiaz for winning the first ever gold medal for the Philippines! We are soooo proud of you! #galingngatletangpilipino,” her caption read.
Actress star Iza Calzado called Diaz “a strong woman.”
“OLYMPIC GOLD. Our Kapatid @hidilyndiaz bags the first ever Olympic gold medal for the Philippines. A strong woman who has endured so much to represent our country well and make us proud. Mabuti kang tao at napaka sipag at tiyaga mo, kaya Ikaw ay pinagpapala. Mahal ka namin! (heart emoji) Thank you for bringing us so much hope. Nakakaiyak. MABUHAY KA!”
Kapamilya star Angel Locsin shared a photo of her with Hidilyn, who was holding the silver medal won at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
“Saludo @hidilyndiaz,” she said.
Multimedia star Anne Curtis also got emotional for the Filipino athlete.
“I’m sure you’ve sparked a fire in little girls, in fact, in all children across the country that with hard work & dedication they can fulfill their biggest dreams! MARAMING SALAMAT,” she wrote on Twitter.
Filipino Broadway star Lea Salonga admitted that she got emotional whe the Philippine National Anthem was played during the awarding ceremonies.
“Nic and I stood, hands on hearts, and cried. Mabuhay ka, @Diaz_Hidilyn!” she related.
Celebrities Judy Ann Santos, Maine Mendoza, Catriona Gray, Agot Isidro, and Ogie Alcasid also congratulated Hidilyn.