Philippines’ First-Ever Gold Medalist Wins $660,000 and a House

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Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won the first-ever Olympic gold medal for the Philippines, ending the nation’s 97-year drought.

“History. Made,” the Olympics said on its Twitter account after 30-year-old Diaz, a silver medalist in the 2016 Rio Olympics, won in the women’s 55-kilogram weightlifting competition in Tokyo on Monday. She lifted an Olympic record 127 kilograms in the clean and jerk event, which sealed her victory, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.

Diaz spent seven months away from her family after being stuck due to Covid-19 restrictions while on training in Malaysia. “I miss my mom and her food,” she said in an interview ahead of the Olympics. “But this is what I want, this is what I love to do.”

Philippines’ Quest for Olympic Gold

With the win, Diaz will take with her 33 million pesos ($660,000) in cash prizes from the government and several businessmen and a house and lot. The Philippine Sports Commission guarantees a 10 million-peso incentive for every Olympic gold.

“The entire Filipino nation is proud of you,” President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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