2018 Asian Games gold-medal winning weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz is welcomed by her parents, Emelita and Eduardo, at the NAIA on Tuesday. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
2018 Asian Games gold-medal winning golfers Kaye Go (from left), Bianca Pagdanganan and Yuka Saso show the fruits of their labor as they arrive at the NAIA on Tuesday. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
2018 Asian Games gold winners Kaye Go (from left), Bianca Pagdanganan, Hidilyn Diaz and Yuka Saso during a press conference at the NAIA upon their arrival from the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta on Tuesday. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
The Philippines' gold-medal winners in the 2018 Asian Games arrived in Manila on Tuesday night, saying they are proud to represent the country and women.
Golfers Bianca Pagdanganan, Kaye Go and Yuka Saso, and weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz were all smiles as they were greeted by well-wishers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Pagdanganan, Go and Saso shared that they grew up together but this is the first time they played as a team in an international competition.
Besides the team gold medal, Pagdanganan also won a bronze while Saso bagged the championship in individual play.
"We don’t really have a ritual. We hype each other up before every game. We just sing, and dance, and laugh," Pagdanganan said.
They are now focused on gaining enough points in different competitions to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Diaz, meanwhile, will be embarking on tougher, stricter training and diet programs to gain points for the 2020 Olympics.
She said there are many aspects of her social life she has had to give up to succeed.
"Kailangan ko mag-training, madaming bawal kainin, kung ano 'yung binigay 'yun ang ang kakainin ko,” she said.
“Bawal na ako mag-milk tea. ‘Di na ako pwede kumain ng Japanese food."
The four athletes added that their accomplishment in Jakarta was a victory for women.
"Around the world, women are empowered. It just means the world to us that we are able to represent not only the Philippines but also the women in general," said Go.
Diaz said: "Kaya nang makipaglaban, kayang kaya na ng kababaihan makipagsabayan sa sports, na malakas kami."
They are set to meet President Rodrigo Duterte on September 12 at Malacañang.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)