An Olympic weightlifter made history Monday at the Tokyo Olympics by securing the Philippines’ first-ever gold medal.
Hidilyn Diaz, a weightlifter at her fourth Olympics, became a gold medalist in the women’s 55-kilogram division, lifting a record-breaking 127kg of weight in the clean and jerk event, The New York Times reported. The 30-year-old champion managed to achieve an unexpected victory against Chinese weightlifter Liao Qiuyun.
“It’s unbelievable. I expected to win, but when you hold this already, it’s like, ‘Wow, I never thought this would happen today,'” Diaz said, according to the outlet.
In the final round, Diaz surpassed Qiuyun by two kilograms after the Chinese champion lifted 126kg, the New York Times reported. Diaz previously held a maximum record of 125kg, which she had achieved in training. (RELATED: Ariane Titmus Ousts Katie Ledecky In Fierce Battle For Olympic 400M Gold)
Big win for the Philippines!! Thank you for making us proud, Hidilyn🇵🇭💪🏼 https://t.co/l4YDqTNMH4
— Leni Robredo (@lenirobredo) July 26, 2021
The Philippine sporting establishment had persuaded Diaz, who resided in Malaysia for training, to compete for Olympic gold this year after she weighed retirement, The New York Times reported. Diaz previously won a silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and earned fourth place in the Uzbekistan championship in April, according to the outlet.
Monico Puentevilla, a former politician and head of the national weight lifting federation and the Philippine Olympic Committee, expressed his joy regarding the victory. “I have been dreaming of this gold medal for so many years,” Puentevella reportedly said. “Now that she’s won, I can die happy.”
The U.S. also made history at the 2020 games, earning its first gold medals in fencing and taekwondo Sunday after two American athletes, Lee Kiefer and Anastasija Zolotic, defeated their opponents in their respective competitions.