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Weightlifter Trained In Msia, Wins Philippines’ First Ever Gold At The Olympics

Congratulations Hidilyn Diaz!
27 Jul 2021, 08:00 PM
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Main image via CNN + The Star

 

Since the Tokyo Olympics first began, we’ve all been watching anxiously as athlete after athlete perform at their absolute best to try to win medals for their countries.

 

As Malaysians, we have many national athletes who are making us proud at the games too, and we’re right here rooting for them no matter what.

 

While Philippines weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz may have spent the last year-and-a-half training in Malaysia, the athlete is both thankful and ready to head home after clinching the country’s first-ever gold medal in history at the Olympics.

 

hidilyn diaz philippines first gold olympics malaysia trainedImage via The Star

 

Due to the ongoing pandemic, 30-year-old Hidilyn has spent almost two years training in Malaysia as her coach Gao Kaiwen thought it would be better for the athlete to focus on qualifying for Tokyo 2020 here.

 

The weightlifter initially made her way to our country in February 2020 to train, but in a matter of weeks, the Covid-19 restrictions kicked in and Hidilyn was left to battle many obstacles such as gym closures and lack of access to weightlifting equipment.  

 

Hidilyn and “Team HD” spent months stuck in an apartment block in Kuala Lumpur where they had to be very careful not to crack the tiled floor while training with weights.

 

In October 2020, the athlete relocated to Malacca where she lived in a house owned by a Malaysian weightlifting official. Hidilyn began training in a nearby gym but once Covid-19 restrictions kicked in a second time, she was forced to work out in the house’s sweltering open-air carport.

 

With these hardships and the sacrifice of putting her life with family, friends, college studies, air force career, and managing her weightlifting gym in her home town of Zamboanga on the southern island of Mindanao, on hold, Hidilyn can now say that it was all worth it as she goes home to the Philippines with the country’s first ever gold medal.

 

hidilyn diaz philippines first gold olympics malaysia trainedImage via CNN

 

Speaking to AFP after her historic win, the athlete said: “It’s unbelievable, it’s a dream come true.”

 

“I want to say to the young generation in the Philippines, ‘You can have this dream of gold too’,” she said. “This is how I started and finally I was able to do it.”

 

“I don’t know if I’m a national hero but I’m thankful that God used me to inspire all the young generation and all the Philippines people to keep fighting during this pandemic,” she added.  

 

Three years ago at the Asian Games, Hidilyn won the games after lifting 92kg in the snatch and 115kg in the clean and jerk, 7kg greater than her Olympic silver in total at Rio 2016.

 

In Tokyo 2020, the athlete shattered those markes, albeit at a weight division 2kg heavier, with a 97kg snatch and a flawless series of 119kg, 124kg and 127kg in her three clean and jerk attempts, earning her the gold medal in the event.

 

malaysia-trained weightlifter wins philippines’ first ever gold at the olympicsImage via CNN

 

After all the hardships and sacrifice, Hidilyn can’t wait to return home to the Philippines.

 

“I’m looking forward to enjoy life because I have been in Malaysia for, I don’t know, almost two years so I’m really thankful I can go home now and celebrate with my family and the people who support me,” she said.

 

“I’m looking forward to going back home to the Philippines to be with my family because I really miss them,” she added. “I’m looking forward to enjoy my life after so many sacrifices.”

 

hidilyn diaz philippines first gold olympics malaysia trainedImage via The New York Times

 

Congratulations Hidilyn Diaz on your historic win!

 

 

Info via The Star + The Star

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