A few days after ending the country’s 20-year Olympic medal drought with a silver medal win in weightlifting, Hidilyn Diaz was welcomed like a hero upon returning back to the Philippines, especially in her hometown of Zamboanga.
[related:Hot Stuff: Hidilyn Diaz Ends the Country's Olympic Drought with a Silver Medal Finish]
In addition to receiving a P5 million check from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Hidilyn also received a P2 million and a P500,000 check from Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and the city government of Zamboanga, respectively. But the best moment of Hidilyn’s homecoming goes beyond money: It was when she hung her silver medal around her mother’s neck as a gift;
And when she demonstrated to residents of Zamboanga her Rio Olympics-winning form;
And that moment when her neighbors got too excited for her arrival:
“Yun ang gusto ko eh: To inspire them in life, and inspire them in sports,” Hidilyn said during a presscon in her Mampang, Zamboanga City home, a perfect reminder of her determination, starting from her medals to the makeshift gym where she does part of her training.
Medals Hidilyn accumulated through the years.
The makeshift gym where Hidilyn began her journey towards bagging an Olympic silver medal.
With Hidilyn announcing that she plans to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and fellow Zamboangeño Nestor Colonia prepping for a comeback as well, the weightlifting future is definitely bright for Filipino athletes.
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Photographs by Cedrick Basco for ABS-CBN News