After 18 months of training in Malaysia due to restrictions imposed by the “Covid-19” pandemic, the 30-year-old wrapped her neck in yellow metal in the under-55 kg category on Monday, after lifting 127 kg to smash the silver medal winner at Rio 2016, her record personal standard.
The Dias family, who lives on the southern island of Mindanao, watched her achievement enthusiastically. “We were overwhelmed with joy and we cried and some cried for joy,” her mother, Emilita, said in an interview with AFP the day after the historic achievement.
The people of the capital, Manila, welcomed the first gold medal in Olympic history for the Philippines, which has won 10 medals so far.
Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao enthusiastically wrote on Twitter, “Thank you Hedlin Dias for this first gold medal for the Philippines! We are so proud of you.”
The Filipino weightlifter will be rewarded with a check for $655,000 plus a house, which is considered a small fortune for such a weightlifter in a country where the average salary is around 250 euros.
Real estate company Megaworld Corporation also announced Tuesday that it will offer it a house worth 236,000 euros.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Tuesday that this Olympic title could change the fate of the country’s athletes, while acknowledging that public financial aid allocated to them is insufficient.