Diaz: I still could not believe I won gold

By: Glendale G. Rosal - CDN Digital Correspondent | July 27,2021 - 06:40 PM

A sobbing Hidilyn Diaz holds her gold medal on the podium for the victory ceremony of the women’s 55kg weightlifting competition during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 26, 2021. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP)

CEBU CITY, Philippines — It’s not easy to get a good night’s sleep nowadays. Especially if you are Hidilyn Diaz.

Diaz who on Monday evening, July 26, gave the country its first-ever Olympic gold medal in almost a century of trying, admitted to have not slept since that historic night when she snatched the women’s -55-kilogram gold medal in the weightlifting competition of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“I slept at 5:30 a.m., woke up at 7 a.m. and I still couldn’t believe that I won a gold medal,” Diaz told a virtual press conference from the Tokyo Olympics Village on Tuesday morning. “Good morning, thank you, God.”

Diaz ended the country’s almost a century-old gold medal quest that began in the Paris 1924 Games.

“The journey to the Olympic gold medal wasn’t easy, but it was made possible by the people behind Team Diaz, the government, the private sponsors, and the Philippine Olympic Committee [POC] for giving us athletes the opportunity to be here in the Olympics,” the 30-year-old lifter said.

Diaz lifted 97 kgs in snatch en route to two new Olympic records of 127 kgs in clean and jerk and 224 kgs in the total lift—to win the gold which has eluded the country in decades.

The pride of Zamboanga City beat former Olympic record holder and title favorite, Chinese Liao Qiuyun.

Liao took silver with a 223kgs effort and Kazakhstan’s Zulfiya Chinshanlo bagged the bronze with a total lift of 213 kgs.

“Here’s the lady that we’ve waited for the past 97 years,” POC President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said during the online press conference. “

It took four Olympic appearances for Diaz to finally win the gold medal. Her closest brush with the coveted yellow metal was during the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil where she bagged the silver medal.

“Nothing is impossible, even in this pandemic,” added Diaz in the press conference. “We were able to do this amid the pandemic when the risk is there ready to strike anyone of us.”

Diaz said when she woke up at 7 a.m. today, she still could not believe that she had won the gold medal just the night before. That it was more like a dream.

But sometimes dreams do come true especially for those who relentlessly pursue theirs. And Diaz is one persistent and determined athlete.

“I could hardly believe that I won gold,” she gushed. /WITH PR

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TAGS: -55k women's weightlifting, 2020 Tokyo Olympics, gold medal, Hidilyn Diaz, Olympic champion, Philippines, weightlifting

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