After nearly one hundred years, the Philippines has finally brought home its first-ever Olympic gold medal–all thanks to Filipina weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz. The 30-year-old Zamboanga-born athlete triumphed against world champion Liao Qiuyun, lifting a combined weight of 224kg (with 97kg in the snatch and 127kg in the clean and jerk) and placing first in the women’s 55kg weightlifting competition. In the process, Diaz also set the new Olympic record and tied the current world record.
The moment she claimed this historic victory, Diaz immediately burst into tears of disbelief and gratitude, overwhelmed with emotion alongside the many Filipinos who rooted for her from home. “It’s unbelievable, it’s a dream come true”, she shared in a post-match interview. Diaz continues, saying “I want to say to the young generation in the Philippines, ‘You can have this dream of gold too’”.
Unsurprisingly, Diaz has roused awe and pride throughout the nation, with fellow Filipinos taking to social media to celebrate the gold medallist. From her most notable wins to some of the greatest challenges she’s overcome, here are five things you should know about our beloved champion and 2017 Gen T honouree Hidilyn Diaz.