Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz bags PH’s first Olympic gold medal in 96 years

By David Tristan Yumol, CNN Philippines

The 96-year wait for the elusive Olympic gold medal is over for the Philippines.

Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz clinched the country’s first Olympic gold medal after dominating the women’s -55kg final on Monday at the Tokyo International Forum.

Diaz lifted a total of 224 kilograms in the event, an Olympic record, to seal the win for the Philippines. Her gold medal-winning lift of 127 kilograms in the clean and jerk event is also an Olympic record.

The 30-year-old pride of Zamboanga is slated to receive ₱33 million as of this writing — ₱10 million from the national government as stipulated in Republic Act 10699, ₱10 million each from business tycoons and sports patrons Ramon Ang and Manny Pangilinan, and ₱3 million from Rep. Mikee Romero.

The Philippines first participated in the Summer Games in 1924.

How Diaz captured the coveted gold

Diaz comfortably cleared the 94- and 97-kg snatch lifts, but she failed to carry the 99-kg lift. She was tied with silver medalist Liao Qiuyun of China after the three snatch lifts with 97 kgs.

In the clean and jerk, her pet event, Diaz started strong after lifting 119 kgs, as she dislodged Liao who made 118 kgs in her first lift.

After seeing the Filipino and Chinese lifters, Kazakhstan’s Zulfiya Chinshanlo decided to lift 123 kgs in her first clean and jerk attempt which forced Diaz and Liao to lift a higher weight in their second try. Chinshanlo, the event’s bronze medalist, cleared the 123-kg lift in her second attempt.

Liao also cleared 123 kgs in her second attempt, but Diaz went for the higher 124-kg lift which she aced to position herself for the gold.

The Chinese lifter could only clear 126 kgs as the Filipino decided to go for 127 kgs. Diaz was already crying tears of joy while still clearing the winning lift.

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