Filipina weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won the Philippines’ first-ever Olympic gold medal on Monday after winning the women’s 55-kg weightlifting event in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The 30-year-old Rio 2016 silver medallist from the southern city of Zamboanga realised her dream in the women’s 55kg class at the Tokyo International Forum, smashing her personal best to see off world record holder Liao Qiuyun of China who had to settle for silver.
She was already assured a place in her country’s sporting folklore, alongside the likes of boxing icon Manny Pacquiao, as the only woman from the sprawling archipelago ever to win an Olympic medal – her surprise silver five years ago breaking a 20-year medal drought for the Philippines.
Diaz’s medal was just the 11th by the Philippines since they first took part in the Olympics in 1924, and now the only gold.
She became just the second athlete from her country to win multiple Olympics medals, joining swimmer Teofilo Yldefonzo who won bronze in the men’s 200m breaststroke in 1928 and 1932.