Monday saw history being made, as Philippine weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won her country’s first-ever gold medal at the Olympics in Tokyo. This comes as an even more historic achievement if one were to realize that the country was trying to reach the top spot for over a century.
Ever since 1924 Paris, when the Philippines sent its first Olympic team, the country had been looking for glory. Diaz ended up winning gold in the 55kg category of women’s weightlifting- where she set an Olympic record with a combined total weight of 224 kgs across two lifts.
Hidilyn Diaz Breaks Olympic Record
With the event being historic, it comes as no surprise that Hidilyn Diaz got teary-eyed as she celebrated with her coaches before she climbed up the podium. It was quite surreal for the athlete- who was standing at a place where no Philippine had ever stood- and the Air Force staff snapped off a salute while singing the national anthem.
In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the gold medalist mentioned that she had sacrificed quite a lot. Due to the excruciating nature of her training, she couldn’t see her parents for quite a few years. The fight for the gold medal was closely battled- with China’s Liao Qiuyun putting up a good fight.
Both Hidilyn Diaz and Liao managed to lift 97 kgs in the first round of the snatch lift. In the ensuing clean and jerk, Liao lifted an impressive 126 kgs- whereas Diaz broke the record by lifting 127 kgs. Liao settled for silver, while Zulfiya Chinshalo of Kazakhstan ended up winning bronze.
Hidilyn Diaz’s achievement is quite awe-inspiring, due to the event. The snatch lift, it has been recorded, has always been very fast- with weightlifters trying to pick up the bar and above their head in a single smooth motion. On the other hand, the clean and jerk have a couple of movements- competitors first lift the bar to their shoulders, and then in another motion lift it above their head.