Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and other ranking military officials expressed pride and lauded Filipina weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz for her historic gold medal win at the Tokyo Olympic Games Monday night.
Diaz, a Philippine Air Force sergeant, bagged the country’s first gold medal since joining the Olympiad in 1924 after dominating the women’s 55-kg. weightlifting competition.
“Her success is a testament to the unwavering spirit of the Filipino to rise above all odds,” Lorenzana said in a statement.
Diaz, a 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist, prevailed in a neck and neck showdown with China’s Liao Qiuyun in the clean-and-jerk lift as their battle for the gold went down the wire.
Finishing tied with Diaz in the snatch with a 97-kg. maximum lift, Liao lifted 126 kg. in her final lift, forcing Diaz to go for 127 to steal the top spot from Liao.
Diaz, however, smoothly cleared the 127-kg. lift to win it all, also setting an Olympic record in the process.
Her 224-kg. total is also an Olympic record.
“Your One Defense Team is proud of you, Sergeant Diaz!” Lorenzana said.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said Diaz’s historic feat brought “pride and glory” to the military and the country.
Sobejana said the entire AFP was inspired by Diaz’s hard work, perseverance, and dedication.
“We wish her the best moving forward. Soar high, Airwoman!” he added.
Philippine Air Force (PAF) chief Lt. Gen. Allen Paredes said Diaz personifies the “Diwa, Galing at Malasakit” of members of the Air Force.
Diaz, who hails from Zamboanga, entered the PAF as an active personnel in 2013 and is currently an organic personnel of its Civil-Military Operations Group. (PNA)