Monument awaits Hidilyn in hometown Zamboanga, says city councilor-coach

Manolo Pedralvez

Posted at Jul 29 2021 07:22 AM | Updated as of Jul 29 2021 07:59 AM

The city of Zamboanga is building a concrete memorial for weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz in her honor for delivering the country’s first Olympic gold medal in the Tokyo Summer Games last Monday.

Zamboanga City councilor Elbert Atilano, a former national coach and largely credited for grooming Diaz into a world-class athlete, said Wednesday that the monument will be built in front of the newly renovated Joaquin F. Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex.

“The monument will serve as recognition of Diaz’s outstanding accomplishment. It will be an inspiration for all the people of Zamboanga City and to future generations,” Atilano said of the hometown pride. 

Diaz ended the country’s 97-year-old dry spell in the quadrennial Summer Games by ruling the women’s 55-kilogram class, setting Olympic records in the clean-and-jerk of 127kg and combined lift of 234kg in the process. 

Together with her 97kg in the snatch, Diaz narrowly upset by 1kg reigning world and two-time Asian champion Liao Qiuyun of China, who had to settle for the silver medal with a total output of 223kg. 

Atilano said that the Zamboanga City Engineer’s Office was directed to start soon the project, estimated to cost between P5 million to P7 million. This was on top of the P2.5-million bonus that the city council approved for her feat.

The former professor of the Universidad de Zamboanga, where Diaz began her early schooling and weightlifting training, said the institution has sweetened the pot by giving the lifter another P1 million for her herculean Olympic effort.

The school gave her a car 5 years ago when she bagged a silver in Rio 2016. 

Atilano said 13 local manufacturing companies in the seaport city, dubbed the country’s sardine capital, were pooling their resources to give additional cash incentives for Diaz. 

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