- President Duterte lauded Hidilyn Diaz for claiming the silver medal on the women’s weightlifting in the 53 kg category
- He was looking forward to meet the athlete in the Palace after she returns back from the Olympics
- Sen. Sonny Angara also praised Diaz and noted of how her win marked a significant event in the Philippine sports history
A very proud President Rodrigo Duterte claimed to prepare a hero’s welcome for 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz when she returns home from the games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In a press conference on Monday night in Davao City, the president was ‘overjoyed’ for the victory which marked the end of the twenty-year drought of the Philippines from snagging a win in the prestigious competition. Duterte congratulated the Filipina for the honor she has provided the country with, and was looking forward to personally extend his happiness in the Palace upon her arrival.
The head of the state further quipped, “Bilib na ako sa iyo. Saludo po ako sa inyo.” (I believe in you. I salute you.”
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Aside from wishing the athlete all the best in regards to her upcoming ‘quests in life and in the Olympics to come,’ Duterte was also delighted that his pep talk had an effect on the female weightlifter. It was back in July 18 when Duterte was present during the send-off for the Rio participants, encouraging them to do their best and a promise of an increase in their allowance.
Senator Sonny Angara, who has been supportive in the field of sports for a long time already, also commended Diaz for her success. He referred to the 25-year old’s victory as a ‘momentous’ event in Philippine sports history.
Since Mansueto ‘Onyok’ Velasco’s win in 1996 for the light flyweight boxing category, Diaz was the next athlete to land second place in the Olympics. The Zamboanga native became the first ever Filipina and non-boxer athlete to clinch an Olympic medal.
But Diaz will not only be the recipient of an outpour of applaud as she is also set to be given P5 million tax-free following the new National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Law which was passed in 2012.
Diaz came in second after Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Shu-ching who had a total of 212 kg in the women’s weightlifting 53 kg event. Meanwhile, Yoon Jin-hee from South Korea earned the bronze medal with 199 kg – only a point deficit from Diaz’s 200 kg.