TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Filipina weightlifter on Monday brought home the first Olympic gold medal for the Philippines in history while dashing China's hopes of a perfect sweep of eight gold medals in weightlifting.
On Monday (July 27), Hidilyn Diaz captured the gold medal in the women's 55-kilogram weightlifting event, the first gold for an athlete from the Philippines since the country began taking part in the Summer Games in 1924. Diaz took the gold in dramatic fashion by setting an Olympic record with a total of 224 kg, just one more than the favored Chinese weightlifter, Liao Qiuyun.
In the snatch category, Diaz tied with Liao at 97 kg. During the clean and jerk, Diaz needed to lift 127 kg to better Liao's best mark of 126, but it was not until her third and final attempt that she succeeded.
Liao is known in China as the "Championship Harvester" and had been invincible in the women's 55 kg class. She won two gold medals at the World Championship in 2019, when she set the world record for the clean and jerk at 129 kg.
Hidilyn Diaz celebrates on podium after winning gold medal. (AP photo)
Along with seven of her countrymen, she was tapped to be part of China's weightlifting "Dream Team," which was shooting for a record eight golds in one Olympics. When asked to comment on her loss, Liao said that due to a knee injury, her training leading up to the games had not been ideal and that she was surprised by the strong performance by Diaz.
This was Diaz's fourth Olympics, having taken the silver in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. In a post-match interview, Diaz was cited by Reuters as saying, "I am 30 years old, and I thought it would be like going down, my performance, but I was shocked I was able to do it."
The Philippines won its first Olympic medal in 1928 when Teofilo Yldefonso took the bronze in the breaststroke. It was not until 1964 that featherweight boxer Anthony Villanueva won the country's first silver medal.
YOU MAKE US PROUD, HIDILYN!— The Philippine Star (@PhilippineStar) July 26, 2021
Hidilyn Diaz bursts into tears after winning the first-ever Olympic gold medal of the Philippines in the women’s 55-kg weightlifting event. #Tokyo2020 (AFP photos) pic.twitter.com/d0eQIVtw8Z
SALAMAT, HIDILYN DIAZ!— Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) July 26, 2021
Even with her mask on, Hidilyn Diaz could not hide her emotions. Tears of joy for the Philippines' first-ever Olympic gold medalist. (Photos: Edgard Garrido/Reuters) #Tokyo2020 #Olympics #PHI #Weightlifting
READ: https://t.co/7HwsW95i7k pic.twitter.com/uVIMgneyS8