Asian Games: Hidilyn Diaz wins first gold for Philippines


Posted at Aug 21 2018 07:56 PM | Updated as of Aug 21 2018 11:01 PM

Hidilyn Diaz of the Philippines wins the gold for the Philippines in the 53-kilogram event at Jakarta International Expo Kemayoran - Jakarta, Indonesia. Darren Whiteside, Reuters

Hidilyn Diaz of the Philippines wins the gold for the Philippines in the 53-kilogram event at Jakarta International Expo Kemayoran in Indonesia on Tuesday. Darren Whiteside, Reuters

Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won the Philippines' first gold medal in the Asian Games, capturing the women's 53-kilograms event at Jakarta International Expo Hall A in Indonesia on Tuesday.

The Philippines won 4 bronze medals in the Jakarta Games prior to Diaz's feat.

Diaz bested 11 other competitors, including compatriot Dessa Delos Santos, by lifting 92 kilograms in the snatch and 115 kilograms in the clean and jerk for a total of 207 kilograms.

The Zamboanguena pulled a come-from-behind against Turkeminstan’s Kristina Shermetova, who was leading the contest after topping the snatch with 93 kilograms.

Shermetova, however, was relegated to silver when she failed in her attempt to jerk 116 kilograms. Her clean and jerk was listed at 113 kilograms.

Thailand's Surodchana Khambao won the bronze with a total lift of 201 kilograms.

Delos Santos, meanwhile, finished at 8th with 180 kilograms. 

Diaz’s coaches Tony Diaz and Antonio Agustin knew that Shermetova was the lifter they had to watch out for.

“The plan was to keep an eye on Shermatova, because the clean and jerk is Hidilyn’s strength,” Antonio Agustin said. “Hidilyn has been lifting 115 in practice, so we were confident she would pull this one off.”

Diaz said the win boosted her belief that winning the gold in the Olympics is highly possible.

“I am grateful to God that I won the gold medal that all of us Filipinos dream of,” Diaz said. “This proves the Olympic gold medal is possible.”
Diaz stands to receive a cash windfall of P6 million — P2 million from the Philippine Olympic Committee, P2 million from the government through Republic Act 10699, which expands the coverage of incentives granted to national athletes and coaches, and P1 million each from the Siklab Foundation and the Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Lee Hoong.

“In the Olympics, no one expected me to win a medal. Here at the Asian Games, everyone expected me to win,” she said. “For two to three months, I was on the edge. I hardly gotten enough sleep. But I just kept on training and gave my fate to God.”

“I am grateful to God that He granted what all of us Filipinos have wished for,” she said. “It can be done—an Olympic gold can be won.”

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