MANILA -- (UPDATE) This early, Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz is already setting her sights at winning a gold medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The weightlifter, who was given a hero's welcome at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 on Thursday, thanked her supporters for helping her win the silver in Rio de Janeiro through their prayers.
"Sa pagkapanalo ko pong ito naipakita natin na kaya nating lumaban sa Olympics," the 25-year-old Zamboanguena said at a press conference at the airport.
Prior to her success in Brazil, Diaz was already planning to retire from national duty.
But her silver medal win changed that.
"Parang ayaw ko nang mag-retire kasi ngayon pa lang nami-miss ko na ang pagbubuhat," said Diaz. "Siguro hindi na ko papayag na silver lang; gusto ko ng gold po."
The Zambonaguena made history in Rio de Janeiro by becoming the first Filipina to win an Olympic medal when she took second place at the 53-kg division of women’s weight lifting. She also gave the Philippines its first medal since 1996 when Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco won a silver for boxing at the Atlanta Olympics.
Diaz, who holds the rank of Airwoman Second Class at the Philippine Air Force’s 710th Special Operations Wing, is set to receive P5 million and a house and lot for her achievement.
She also stands to receive a promotion from the Air Force.
Diaz was scheduled to meet President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City later Thursday.
“Excited po ako at honored na ipakita kay President Digong ang medal na ito,” she said.
With her winnings, Diaz plans to set up a powerlifting gym in her hometown of Zamboanga City and hone future Olympians who could bring more medals to the country.
“After nito hindi ko naman masasabi kung may susunod pa ba," she said. "Ang gusto ko may sumunod sa 'kin at suportahan sila kasi nasa kabataan ang kinabukasan.”
“Gusto ko mangarap sila. Gusto kong maging Olympian din sila, maging medalist din sila.”
She thanked the government and her sponsors for their support, but more than the incentives, Diaz said she is grateful for the opportunity to compete at the world’s biggest sporting stage.
“Hindi po ako humahabol sa ganung kalaking pera,” said Diaz. “Ang sa 'kin lang ma-represent ko lang ang Pilipinas sa Olympics, mapanalo ko, masaya na ko.”
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