THE newest toast in local sports—weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz—returned from a successful stint in the 31st Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro yesterday and got a warm welcome from her adoring countrymen.
Waving, smiling and blowing kisses as fans lined the hallway on her way to a room where a press conference was scheduled, Diaz hit town at around 6 p.m., tired after a long, 23-hour trip from the Brazilian capital that’s been kind to her.
The 25-year-old Diaz immediately looked for her parents upon arrival, a big smile on her face as she handed the silver medal to mother Emelita and father Eduardo as fans cheered in sheer delight.
In winning the silver medal in the 53-kilogram division in women’s weighlifting, Hidilyn ended a 20-medal drought for the Philippines in the quadrennial meet.
Not only that, Diaz also became the first Filipino female Olympic to strike a medal in the biggest, grandest sporting spectacle on earth.
“Salamat po sa lahat ng sumuporta at nagdasal para sa akin. Alay ko po sa inyo ang medalyang ito,” Diaz said, adding she never expected the warm reception accorded to her yesterday.
The parents of Diaz were flown to Manila from Zamboanga City. From the airport, she and her family went straight to a hotel where they will be staying overnight.
They are slated to fly back to their native hometown of Mambang n Zamboanga City. It was learned that the town is set to celebrate its fiesta this weekend, specifically on Sunday.
Diaz is also set to meet with President Duterte who has congratulated her and expressed his wish to meet her once she arrives in the country.