Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz wins gold, ends Philippines' near-century drought

July 26, 2021, 10:49 AM

The Philippines' 97-year wait for a gold medal in the Olympics is over after Hidilyn Diaz triumphed in women's 55-kilogram weightlifting at the Tokyo Games.

Diaz burst into tears as she recorded her gold-medal-winning effort with an overall lift of 224 kilograms. The total set an Olympic record, one kilogram ahead China's Liao Qiuyun, who owns the world record of 227kg set during the 2019 World Championships.

The feat brings an end to the Philippines' 97-year Olympic gold-medal drought. The nation first entered the Olympics in 1924, when David Nepomuceno featured in the 100- and 200-meter sprints. It would go on to win its first bronze medal four years later in Amsterdam through Teofilo Yldefonso's third-place finish in the men's 200-meter breaststroke and then took its first silver medal at Tokyo in 1964, when Anthony Villanueva placed second in men's featherweight boxing.

The Philippines won silver again at Atlanta in 1996 ( Mansueto Velasco in light flyweight boxing) and again at Rio in 2016 (Diaz in 53kg weightlifting).