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Athlete who trained with water jugs wins her country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal



  • Hidilyn Diaz, 30-year-old weightlifter, grabbed the first Olympic gold for the Philippines.
  • Hidilyn had to train with water jugs while she was stranded given the COVID travel restrictions.
  • She hopes to inspire Filipinos to “dream high” and keep fighting.”

The Philippines has been rejoicing, and we totally understand why.

After 100 years of joining the Olympics, it has finally brought home a gold medal through Hidilyn Diaz, a 30-year-old Filipino weightlifter.

Since 1924, the Philippines has been sending teams to the Summer Olympics, but the past century had been flat, until Hidilyn recently bagged the gold.

If Filipinos were over the moon, the feeling was probably 10 times more for the determined athlete whose Olympic journey was quite tough.

Hidilyn was stranded due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, wasn’t able to be with her family for more than a year, and was forced to train with water jugs due to lack of proper training equipment.

“The most amazing thing about her story is that she got stuck in Malaysia during the COVID lockdown. She was only there for an Olympic qualifying event when the government banned traveling and she ended up being stuck there for more than a year. I read she had to build her own workout equipment using water jugs,” one Reddit commenter reported.

Hidilyn and her team rose to the occasion while they were stranded. They ran online seminars in exchange for donations and used the funds to help get basic necessities to the Filipinos having trouble earning because of the lockdown.

Despite the odds, Hidilyn stood strong. The hardships she experienced early on during her childhood must have prepared her for something like this. She learned to be self-sufficient and resilient, and these were only among the many good things that put her where she is now.


The resolute athlete set a new world record of 127kg (about 280 lbs) and made a cumulative total of 224 which guaranteed her win.

As she took the podium and saluted the Philippine flag as the country’s national anthem was playing, tears began flowing on her face. It was a glorifying moment, indeed, and the memories of everything that she went through probably came flashing back — she finally did it.

“We are so proud to see our motherland’s flag raised at the Olympic podium and we are deeply thankful to Hidilyn Diaz for bringing the first gold medal to the Philippines,” Brendan Flores, president of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations told The Washington Post.

Hidilyn hopes that her win will be a “golden opportunity” to inspire Filipinos, athletes or not, to work hard and never give up.

“I am thankful that God is using me to inspire all the young generation and all the Filipino people to keep fighting during this pandemic,” she said in a statement reported by WaPo. “To all the young generation in the Philippines, please dream high… That’s how I started. I dreamed high and finally, I was able to do it.”

Source: Good News Network