From ‘home-made barbells’ to ‘historic gold:’ Senate honors Diaz for Olympic win
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate on Tuesday honored weightlifting gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz for uplifting the nation to “great heights of joy” as she ended the country’s 97-year quest for the elusive Olympic gold medal.
In adopting Senate Resolution No. 793 congratulating and commending Diaz, senators noted the humble beginnings of the Zamboanga native.
“There is a tagalog saying that goes, ‘Walang mailap na pangarap sa taong pursigidong makamit ang tagumpay.’ This, perhaps, is our key takeaway from Hidilyn’s journey to victory,” Senate President Vicente Sotto III said.
(There is a tagalog saying that goes, “There is no elusive dream to someone who is determined to achieve victory.” This, perhaps, is our key takeaway from Hidilyn’s journey to victory.)
“Before becoming a trailblazer in weightlifting, she started using home-made barbells made with plastic pipes and concrete weights shaped in tin cans. Her passion for the sport opened a door of opportunities for the young Hidilyn. She has been consistent and kept her eyes on the prize,” he added.
On Monday night, Diaz delivered the Philippines’ breakthrough gold medal after conquering the women’s 55-kilogram category weightlifting competition at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Zamboanga-born athlete also lifted a record-setting combined weight of 224kg.
Sotto said that Diaz’s triumph is not only celebrated because it paved the way for the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal, but also since her victory comes in the middle of a pandemic “when every move is a struggle and a health-risk and when we all need a ray of light.”
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, for his part, said Diaz “broke the glass ceiling” and inspired young girls with her historic win.
“Years ago, a small girl in Zamboanga carried boxes of fish to market to help feed her family. That woman last night with one mighty lift ended her people’s hunger for Olympic gold,” Recto said.
“Her win inspires millions of young girls that they, too, can surmount the odds. Her barbell broke the glass ceiling women encounter and shattered the trope that they are the inferior sex,” he added.
Recto, meanwhile, called on the government to “do the heavy lifting now” in terms of its pandemic response as a way to honor the weightlifting champ.
“To win our future, we must achieve: Faster economic recovery. Higher scores in all socioeconomic cards. Stronger COVID response. And doing it together, which is the most important,” he said.
“Hidilyn had done hers. It is time for all of us in the government to do the heavy lifting now. For that is the only way to honor her,” he added.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, meanwhile, recalled that he found out about Diaz’s victory when he was having dinner with some friends following President Rodrigo Duterte’s final State of the Nation Address.
“I wept together with another friend of mine, we were shouting and telling everyone around us that we won a gold medal,” Zubiri said.
“It really fills my heart with pride and joy that such a woman, such a Filipino woman, did what she did for us last night, uplifted all of us to great heights of joy,” he added.
“The beauty of this is she won this gold medal, in spite of all the hardships she had to go through…last night she won the historic gold,” the senator further said.
All senators were made as co-sponsors and co-authors of the adopted resolution.
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