MALACAÑANG on Monday congratulated weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz for winning a silver medal in the 2016 Olympics, the Philippines’ first Olympic medal finish in two decades.
Diaz ended the country’s long wait for an Olympic medal with a silver in the women’s 53-kg weightlifting division on Sunday (early Monday in Manila) in the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“The Philippines and the President [are]honored and proud of Hidilyn Diaz’s silver-medal win at the Rio Olympics,” Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
“We extend our sincerest congratulations and celebrate the end of the medal drought. Truly, change has come,” Abella added.
The Philippines last snared an Olympic medal in the Atlanta Games in 1996 when Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco won silver in boxing.
In a separate statement, Presidential Communications Secretary Andanar said Diaz’s “inspiring” story, which began in her native Zamboanga City where she learned the sport, “is the story of Filipinos.”
“Hers is about overcoming shyness but for an inspired nation, her road to Rio is a journey of grit, patience and determination which ended a 20-year-long medal drought for the Philippines,” Andanar said.
“On behalf of a proud nation, we congratulate Hidilyn Diaz for winning the Philippines’ first medal in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games… Mabuhay ka at ipagmamalaki ka naming lahat!” he added.
Diaz, 25, is the first Filipino woman to win an Olympic medal, as well as the country’s first for weightlifting. She is also the first Filipino Olympic medalist from Mindanao.