The 2018 Asian Games held last August 18 to September 2, 2018 was memorable not only to avid sports fans but to Filipinos in general because once again, Hidilyn Diaz made the country proud by bagging a medal in the event. And it’s not just any medal, it’s the gold medal in women’s weightlifting and the first for the country in the games.
Here are six reasons why she’s a true inspiration to Pinoys:
1. She’s the first Pinoy to win a gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games.
A few days ago, we heard the amazing news that Hidilyn won the gold medal in the women’s 53-kilogram weightlifting event. She lifted a total of 207 kg, beating Turkmenistan’s Kristina Shermatova (206kg) and Thailand’s Surodchana Khambao (201kg). It was also the Philippine’s first gold in the event.
2. She’s the country’s first female Olympic medalist.
A couple of years ago in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Hidilyn snagged a silver medal. It was the first medal for the Philippines in the Summer Olympics after 20 years. In this patriarchal society, Hidilyn proved that girls can play sports, too. The statement “You play/lift like a girl” should be a compliment.
3. She didn’t let the lack of means prevent her from going after her dreams.
Back in Zamboanga when Hidilyn was just starting in weightlifting, she trained in a makeshift gym under a sampaloc tree. She couldn’t even afford a barbell set so instead, she lifted wood cut from Ipil-ipil trees. She didn’t let the lack of equipment prevent her from improving in the sport. We can learn a lot from Hidilyn when it comes to being hardworking and resourceful.
4. She overcame setbacks like a boss.
People say, “Even the best fall down sometimes”, and it couldn’t be more true for Hidilyn. It wasn’t always a smooth ride before claiming glory. In the London Games in 2012, she failed three attempts at a 118 kg Clean and Jerk. In effect, she ended with an official result of DNF (did not finish). A few years after the incident, she suffered from an injury which prevented her from competing. Although many problems arose, she got up her knees and continued the fight.
5. She’s the personification of grace under pressure.
After winning a silver medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics, too much pressure was on Hidilyn’s shoulders. Everyone expected a lot from her and she didn’t want to disappoint. In an interview, she said that she let go of the pressure she’s been feeling because it would only distract her from the competition. Despite all the stress, she handled the situation very well.
6. She’s giving back by sharing her talent.
Hidilyn’s start to weightlifting glory was in her hometown in Mampang. As a gesture of giving back, she purchased the lot in front of their house to have a weightlifting gym constructed on it. Our favorite Pinay weightlifter has proven that beneath her muscles is a very big heart that cares.