The “weightlifting fairy” from Zamboanga, Philippines changed the country’s sporting history in a matter of seconds in her recent victory in the Tokyo Olympics 2021. Hidilyn Diaz, 30, competed in the women’s 55kg category on the night of July 26.

Diaz made history as the first Filipino athlete to win gold at the international sporting event. She also set an Olympic record, lifting a combined weight of 224 kilograms and the 127 kilograms she lifted in the clean and jerk event, which secured her top spot in the women’s 55-kg class. Nonetheless, her journey to Tokyo was not a walk in the park. The Filipino weightlifter struggled to raise training funds for this year’s Olympics. She underwent a lot of struggles along the way, but that did not stop her from raising her country’s flag on the grandest sporting stage. Since joining the Olympics almost a century ago in 1924, the Philippines won only a total of 10 medals: three silver and seven bronze. Diaz’s win was not only monumental but also sentimental to her beloved country. It somehow gave hope to a nation struggling due to the current pandemic.

Prior to her recent triumph in the Tokyo Olympics, Diaz already brought pride to the country after winning gold in the 2018 Asian Games and Roma 2020 World Cup. But those two gold medals did not make her complacent, knowing that an Olympic gold would be a legacy for the future generations.