Olympian weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won the first-ever gold medal for the Philippines at the Tokyo Games on Monday, breaking the country’s 97-year drought. Diaz, a four-time Olympian, emerged victorious in the women’s 55-kilogram weightlifting competition after an overall lift of 224 kilograms — an Olympic record.
Diaz will take 33 million pesos ($660,000) in cash prizes from the government and several businessmen and a house with the win. The Philippine Sports Commission guarantees a ten million-peso incentive for every Olympic gold. “The entire Filipino nation is proud of you,” President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque said.
Diaz spent seven months away from her family after being stuck due to COVID-19 restrictions while training in Malaysia. “I miss my mom and her food,” she said in an interview ahead of the Olympics. “But this is what I want; this is what I love to do.”