MANILA -- (3rd UPDATE) Pinay Olympic champion Hidilyn Diaz arrived home Wednesday, just days after her historic Olympic gold medal win in the Tokyo Olympics.
Diaz, who claimed the Philippines's first Olympic gold in the women’s -55 kgs Monday night, flew home on board Philippine Airlines flight PR 427.
She emerged at the arrival area of Terminal 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport wearing her gold medal and carrying a bouquet of flowers.
Diaz and her team, composed of Chinese coach Gao Kaiwen and strength and conditioning coach Julius Naranjo, will proceed to a hotel for a mandatory seven-day quarantine.
Athletes, coaches, officials and even media are required to leave Japan within 48 hours after their competition as required by the Tokyo Olympics Playbook.
Despite the COVID-19 protocols, people at NAIA Terminal 2 crowded the arrival area in anticipation of her return.
A welcome area was set for the Olympic hero where she was expected to talk to the media, but Diaz went to the rest room to change into her military clothes and was immediately escorted to the VIP lounge.
There she was welcomed by Philippine officials including Interior and Local Secretary Eduardo Ano and Philippine Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Allen Paredes.
She is expected to make a courtesy call to President Rodrigo Duterte via Zoom.
Also onboard the same flight is Pinay skateboarding star Margielyn Didal, who also competed in Tokyo.
Didal, in a blue athletic suit, apparently suffered a slight injury during competition as she arrived in the airport in a wheelchair.
Before leaving Tokyo, Diaz could not hide her excitement about returning to the Philippines after more than a year of training overseas.
“After more than a year uwi na ako sa Pilipinas. Excited na ako makita ang family ko at excited na ako ipakita sa inyo ang medalyang napanalunan ko noong isang araw at ipakita na kaya nating mga Pilipino. Miss na miss ko na ang Pilipinas. Mahal na mahal ko ang Pilipinas. So I’m really proud to represent Philippines. Iyak daw muna," she said.
Diaz stands to receive at least P35 million in incentives from the government, politicians and businessmen.
She was also rewarded a house and lot in Tagaytay City and a condominium unit in Eastwood.
Diaz also got a lifetime worth of free flights and travel, as well as fuel from various companies.
Aside from this, Diaz was also promoted to the rank of staff sergeant at the Philippine Air Force for her historic win.
For breaking news and latest developments on the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, visit https://news.abs-cbn.com/tokyo-olympics