Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz captured the Philippines’ first-ever gold medal in the Olympics on Monday and will rake in some great rewards when she returns home.
Philippine officials and companies have pledged to give Diaz about $600,000 in cash and a leading real estate company in the country vowed to give her a residential condominium unit in an upscale district in Manila.
"I think this victory is also a game-changer for Philippine sports," Philippine presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Tuesday. "This is a reason maybe for our policymakers to really appropriate a bigger support to our athletes."
Philippine officials, including President Rodrigo Duterte, congratulated Diaz. A senator filed a resolution commending Diaz for overcoming the odds and taking a place in the country’s "pantheon of legendary athletes."
Diaz upset world record holder Liao Qiuyun of China in the final lift of the 55-kilogram weightlifting event. She said she can’t wait to return home and celebrate with her family. She had been training for the Games in Malaysia when the coronavirus hit and had been separated from them for a while.
"I’m looking forward to going home to the Philippines and being with my family, because I really miss them," Diaz said. "I’m looking forward to enjoying life because I’ve been in Malaysia for almost three years, so I’m really thankful that I can go home now and celebrate with my family."
The Philippines, with a population of more than 108 million, had been in every modern Summer Olympics except one since 1924. Diaz is a four-time Olympian. She won silver in 2016.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.