Hidilyn Diaz, a Filipina weightlifter, won the women’s 55-kg weightlifting event of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Monday at the Tokyo International Forum, giving the Philippines its first-ever Olympic gold medal.
Since the Philippines first competed in the games in 1924, they have been without an Olympic gold medal for nearly a century. Since then, the country has won three silver and seven bronze medals, but the gold has eluded them until now.
Diaz had previously competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics and won a silver medal in the women’s 53-kg event.
Diaz won gold in Tokyo with a total score of 224 kg, lifting 97 kg in the snatch and 127 kg in the clean & jerk to beat China’s Liao Qiuyun.
Liao, the world champion in the 55-kg weight class, came in second with a score of 223. Zulfiya Chinshanlo of Kazakhstan won bronze with a score of 213.
Diaz made an immediate impression.
With 94 and 97 kg, respectively, the 30-year-old veteran cleared her first and second attempts at snatch. On her third attempt at 99kg, though, she received a no-lift verdict.
Diaz lifts 119 kg on her first attempt and 124 kilograms on her second effort in the clean and jerk. In her third attempt, she lifted 127 pounds.
Diaz won a silver medal at the quadrennial meet in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016, and a gold medal at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
Diaz is competing in her fourth Olympics in a row.
In 2013, Diaz enlisted in the Philippine Air Force (PAF) via the direct enrollment scheme.
Diaz began her career as a member of the Air Force Special Service Group and was promoted to Airwoman second class the following year.
Diaz was promoted to Airwoman First Class after her triumph at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Following her golden triumph at the 2018 Asiad, she is now an Airwoman Sergeant.