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Timeline: Hidilyn Diaz’s Path to Olympic Glory

MANILA, Philippines — Despite missing out on her fifth consecutive Olympic appearance, Hidilyn Diaz’s legacy as the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medalist remains unmatched.

Diaz’s hopes for the 2024 Paris Olympics were dashed when she placed seventh in the 59kg class at the 2024 IWF World Cup in Thailand. Her compatriot Erleen Ando, lifting a total of 228kg, secured the sole qualification spot for their weight class, limiting the Philippines to one representative per category.

This marks the first time in 20 years that the 33-year-old Diaz will not compete on the Olympic stage, having shifted to a new weight category after the 55kg division—where she triumphed in Tokyo 2020—was discontinued.

Looking back on Diaz’s inspiring journey across four Olympics:

Wildcard in Beijing

Diaz made her Olympic debut as a wild card entry at the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, becoming the first Filipino female weightlifter since Rodrigo del Rosario in 1948. At just 17 years old, she finished 10th out of 12 competitors, lifting a total of 192kg (85kg snatch, 107kg clean and jerk).

DNF at London Olympics

In her second Olympics in the under 58kg category, Diaz’s hopes were dashed after three unsuccessful lifts in the clean and jerk, resulting in an official “did not finish” (DNF) at the London Olympics. This setback fueled her determination to succeed.

Silver Medal Breakthrough at Rio de Janeiro

Diaz’s breakthrough came at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, where she clinched a silver medal in the women’s 53kg category, ending the Philippines’ 20-year medal drought with a total lift of 200kg (88kg snatch, 112kg clean and jerk).

Making History with Olympic Gold

Diaz etched her name in history at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (held in 2021), winning the country’s first-ever gold medal by lifting 127kg in clean and jerk for a total of 224kg, surpassing China’s Liao Qiuyun. Her victory resonated across the nation, symbolizing determination and resilience.

Post-Olympics, Diaz continued her success with gold medals at the 31st Southeast Asian Games and the World Weightlifting Championships in 2022 before transitioning to the under 59kg class for the 2024 Olympics.

Although Diaz will not compete this year, her influence continues to inspire Filipino weightlifters like Erleen Ando, Vanessa Sarno, and John Ceniza, who are set to represent the Philippines in Paris.

Following her Olympic setback, Diaz is taking much-needed family time with her husband, Julius, without specifying retirement plans.


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