It took nearly one hundred years, but the Philippines has finally won their first Gold medal, reports NPR. The country entered its first Olympic games in 1924 and now in 2021, they got a gold medal. Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won gold in the 55-kilogram category in the women’s division at the Tokyo Olympics. Plus, she set a new record for most combined weight lifted at 224 kilograms from two lifts.
A tearful proud Diaz stood on the middle podium and saluted and sang along with her country’s national anthem. Besides being a champion weightlifter she serves in the Philippine air force.
“I sacrificed a lot. I wasn’t able to be with my mother and father for how many months and years and then, of course, training was excruciating,” Diaz said according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “But God had a plan.”
Hidilyn Diaz beat out China’s Liao Qiuyun who held the record in the event.
It’s been a long journey for the 30-year-old Filipina. She came from poverty and started lifting at the age of 11. She decided to quit school to pursue her passion for weightlifting and it paid off in the Rio Olympics when she won silver in her competition becoming the first woman representing the Philippines to medal. Now, she’s the best and her victory will further ingrain her hero status in her home country.