The last time Hidilyn Diaz saw her parents was when she captured her first Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medal back in December of 2019.
Now as Diaz reunites with her parents, she presents her with another first – an Olympic gold medal for the Philippines.
The parents of the Tokyo Games gold medalist – mother Emelita and father Eduardo – arrived Thursday evening from Zamboanga City and they went straight to Sofitel in Pasay City.
Businessman Manny V. Pangilinan made possible the arrival of Diaz’s parents in Manila through the MVP Sports Foundation (MVPSF) as the telecommunications mogul promised the latter on helping her reunite with her parents.
“Matagal ko na din kasi sila hindi nakikita,” said Diaz in a recent interview with Manila Bulletin.
The 30-year-old Diaz, silver medalist in the 2016 Rio Olympics, delivered the country’s first gold medal in the Olympics when she ruled the 55-kilogram category in women’s weightlifting last July 26 in Japan.
Diaz did it by setting two Olympic records as she successfully lifted 127kg on her third and last attempt at clean and jerk, and her total of 224kg.
She bested China’s Liao Qiuyun, the world record holder who finished at 223kgs following her 97kgs in snatch and 126kgs in clean and jerk to earn a silver medal, while Kazakhstan’s Chinshanlo Zulfiya placed third for the bronze with a total of 213kgs – 90kgs in snatch and 123kgs in clean and jerk.
Diaz’s historic stint in the Tokyo Olympics earned her – so far – P49.5 million in monetary incentives, including P10 million each from the government through the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the MVPSF and San Miguel Corporation, P5 million from Siklab Atleta Foundation, P3 million from Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero of 1-Pacman Party, additional P5 million from PSC, P3 million from President Duterte, and P2.5 million from the LGU of Zamboanga City.
The Megaworld Corporation also gave her a condominium unit in Eastwood City worth P14 million, while AirAsia and the Philippine Airlines have pledged to give free air travel to Diaz.
The latest to reward Diaz’s efforts was the Ayala Foundation, acknowledged her as an “Atletang Magiting” and rewarded her with a Kia Stonic SUV from Kia Philippines and AC Motors.