By: Elena Grace Flores
Hidilyn Diaz put a stop on the country’s 20-year dry spell in the Olympics after bagging the silver medal in the 53-kilogram class of the weightlifting competition at the Riocentro Pavilion. Filipinos delegates in the gallery were already celebrating her third-best, bronze-clinching total of 200 kg when China’s erstwhile front runner Li Yajun failed in her third and final attempt to lift 126 kg in the clean and jerk and scratched out of the contest. It was Li, who actually tied the Olympic record in the snatch, but failed in all three tries at 126.
After realizing that Li had failed in her attempts, the three-time Olympian Diaz cannot hold it any longer and jumped in joy then raised her arms in triumph. She’s the country’s first medalist in weightlifting that made her coach proud. Diaz’s total lift was only 12 kg lighter than that of the gold medalist Hsu Shu-ching of Chinese Taipei who got 212. The silver is already as good as gold this early. South Korea’s Yoon Jin-hee is the bronze medalist with a total lift of 199 kg. Diaz felt the presence of God while weight lifting. She’s only 25-year-old and from Zamboanga City.
The silver medal under the government’s incentive program for medalists in the Olympics can easily be worth P5 million a cash bonuses accumulation.