PETALING JAYA: Hidilyn Diaz has created history for her country when she won and donated the first Olympic gold medal for the Philippines through the women’s 55kg weightlifting event.
Stuck in Malaysia since February last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Diaz was initially a bit restless having to train in a temporary gymnasium surrounded by banana and rambutan trees-a training ground that would have been impossible to afford to give her gold at the Tokyo Olympics, according to media report.
Diaz, 30, a medalist at the Rio 2016 Olympics, despite being stuck in Malaysia but remains determined to realize his dream of becoming the first Olympic gold medalist from the Philippines.
“I am ready. I can’t say what percentage, but I’m there – my mind is there, my heart is there, physically there is, “Diaz told AFP in an interview last May as she took a break from his final preparations to participate in his fourth Olympic Games. , and maybe last.
Diaz’s name is already sculpted and the talk of her country, alongside boxing icon Manny Pacquiao, as the only woman from the islands in the south of the country-Mindanao-to ever win an Olympic medal-silver in Rio that broke a 20-year medal drought for the Philippines .
Her stature improved two years later when she won gold at the Asian Games in Indonesia and repeated her performance at the SEA Games in the country in December 2019.
The daughter of a rickshaw puller from a poor village near the port of Zamboanga in Mindanao, Diaz has not met her family since December 2019.
“I have to sacrifice time with family, sacrifice time with friends, sacrifice time by studying my job in the Philippine Air Force,” she said.