7 Inspiring Facts About 2016 Rio Olympics Silver Medalist Hidilyn Diaz (Video)
Meet Hidilyn Diaz, the Pinay weightlifter who won the silver medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As we all probably know by now, Hidilyn Diaz made us proud Pinoy again when it comes to international sports for winning an Olympic silver medal two decades after boxer Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco won in 1996.
As shown in Sports5, 25-year old Diaz won the silver medal in the women’s 53-kg weightlifting division in the 2016 Rio Olympics. But despite not winning the gold medal, the Zamboanga City native received warm congratulations from Malacañang, Pinoy netizens and from the entire Philippines. With that, below are seven inspiring facts about Hidilyn Diaz.
#1 Hidilyn Diaz started weightlifting at the age of 11
Hidilyn Diaz is the fifth of six children of couple Eduardo and Emelita Diaz, and lives with her family in the roadside in Barangay Mampang, Zamboanga City. She claimed she started weightlifting when she was only 11. At a very young age, she can already lift 40 liters of water (around 40 kgs) she fetches from the village water supply to their home.
#2 Hidilyn Diaz is the first Pinay weightlifter in the Olympic Games
Hidilyn Diaz participated in the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing, China as a wild card entry. This is not only her first time in the Olympics, as she was also first female weightlifter who represented the Philippines in the Olympic Games. Then 17 years old, she broke her own previous record and placed second to last in a field of 12 weightlifters.
#3 Hidilyn Diaz is the first Pinay athlete to win an Olympic medal
Based on Olympic records in the Philippines, the country has already brought home a total of 10 Olympic medals. Nevertheless, all the other nine athletes were men, including David Nepomuceno, who participated in the 1924 Summer Olympics, the first time Philippines has joined. Nepomuceno managed to be qualified in the quarterfinals in the track and field.
#4 Hidilyn Diaz is the first Filipino Olympic medalist in weightlifting
As mentioned earlier, there are nine other Pinoy athletes who Olympic medals. However, five of them were boxers, including Roel Velasco (elder brother of Onyok Velasco), and Anthony Villanueva and his father, Jose Luis Villanueva. Two of them were swimmers, while the remaining two were into athletics such as running, high jump, and track and field.
#5 The 2016 Rio Olympics is her third entry in the Olympic Games
After failing in the 2008 Summer Olympics, Hidilyn Diaz participated in the 2012 Summer Olympics, making her the first Pinay weightlifter to participate in two consecutive Olympic Games. That Olympic year, she ranked as 12th best among the 19 competitors. And although she went home empty handed, she successfully lifted 97 kg in the snatch.
#6 2014 was the worst year for Hidilyn Diaz
All of us have the worst year in our lives, and for Hidilyn Diaz, it was 2014. In an interview with Rappler, she admitted that during that year, she suffered an injury and missed the Asian Games, her coach left their team, and worst of all, her boyfriend left her. And yes, she has fully recovered from all of those trials in just 2 years. Look where she is now.
#7 Hidilyn Diaz will receive P5 million peso cash reward, house and lot
Under RA 10699 or National athletes, coaches and trainers Benefits Act, which was signed into law in 2015 by then-President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, Hidilyn Diaz is set to receive P5 million pesos in cold cash as reward being an Olympic silver medalist. The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) also promised to give her a 35-square meter house and lot.
Besides expecting a hero’s welcome once she returns to the Philippines, she is now thinking of accepting the scholarship offer as student-athlete from the Lindenwood University in Missouri, USA to finish her Computer Science degree In doing so, she will leave the Philippine Air Force, where she has been an Airwoman Second Class for 2 years.
Congratulations, Hidilyn Diaz! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!