Pinay lifter Diaz wins silver medal in Rio Olympics

Aaron Lozada, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 08 2016 04:07 AM | Updated as of Aug 08 2016 05:47 AM

Hidilyn Diaz (PHI) of Philippines. Reuters

(2nd UPDATE) Filipino weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz handed the Philippines its first medal in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games early morning on Monday, Manila time.

Diaz, who is competing in her third straight Olympics, took the silver medal in the women's 53-kg division won by Chinese Taipei's Hsu Shu-Ching.

Her silver win is the Philippines' first medal since 1996 when boxer Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco bagged the silver in the Atlanta Olympic Games.

The Filipina weightlifter scored 88 in snatch and 112 in clean and jerk, for a total of 200, against Chinese Taipei's 212.

South Korea’s Yoon Jin Hee came in at third with 199.

Diaz was guaranteed at least a bronze medal after finishing her act. She automatically got the silver after Li Yajun of China, who had just set an Olympic Record in the snatch with 101, failed to complete her clean and jerk after attempting to lift 123 in her first try, and 126 in her second and third attempts.

China's Li Yajun. Reuters

Diaz's podium finish is a welcome relief after the Philippines' quest for a medal started on a sorry note.

Earlier, three Filipino athletes, including one potential medal hopeful, bowed out of contention one after the other on Saturday as action in Rio Games went full blast in different venues in and around Rio de Janeiro.

Ian Lariba of table tennis, who carried the Philippine flag during the opening ceremony, was the first to fall after losing in straight sets.

Swimmer Jessie Lacuna , who is on his second straight Olympics, failed to keep up with his rivals in the men's 400-m freestyle.

Boxer Charly Suarez made an unsuccessful Olympic debut following a bitter split decision in the lightweight division.

Diaz, who hails from Zamboanga City, has a career best of 224 kilograms. She qualified for the Rio Games after winning bronze in the International Weightlifting Federation World Championship in Houston, Texas.

In the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics, Diaz competed in the 58-kg category.

She was the country's flag bearer in the 2012 London Games.

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