Filipino weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won the first-ever gold for her country, and to thank her for her victory, the government has showered the athlete with lavish gifts.
Diaz won the women's weightlifting 55 KG at the Tokyo Olympics, setting an Olympic record with a clean and jerk of 124 KG and then lifting 127 KG.
Since February last year, Diaz has been living in Malaysia away from her family and friends due to the pandemic. And now, she can't wait to go home. She was understandably reduced to tears after beating her personal best to claim victory.
Diaz made headlines in the Philippines when she became the first woman to win silver in Rio 5 years ago, which was the first medal won in any event in twenty years for her country. But this time, she's done one better!
Hidilyn Diaz has won the first ever gold medal for Philippines!#PHI #Gold #PHI #Gold #PHI #Gold pic.twitter.com/hrhavf2Iyp
— Olympics (@Olympics) July 26, 2021
Diaz's victory in Tokyo is the Philippines' eleventh Olympic medal and the country's first gold in a whopping ninety-seven years.
And according to Bloomberg, Diaz doesn't just get a medal for winning...
She also received $660,000 in tax-free cash, 2 homes, and a lifetime of free flights.
According to USA Today, the Olympian will get a house in Tagaytay for her win, and will even get a condo in Eastwood valued at 14 million pesos ($700,000) courtesy of Megaworld, the company announced.
Diaz will also fly free for life with AirAsia, who previously gave her 5 years of unlimited flights when she won silver in Rio.
"We want all ASEAN to believe that they can always make it happen," AirAsia spokesperson Steve Dailisan said in a news release.
The Philippines Sports Commission had previously guaranteed 10 million pesos ($500,000) for every medal won, as an incentive to the athletes taking part.
Back in 1924, David Nepomuceno was the first Filipino athlete to compete at the Olympics when he took part in the 100m and 200m sprint races.
Kazakhstan's Zulfiya Chinshanlo also made it to the podium by taking bronze, just 10 KG away from the top 2.
"It's unbelievable, a dream come true," Diaz said. "I want to say to the young generation in the Philippines, 'You can have this dream of gold too'.
"This is how I started and finally I was able to do it."
Before Diaz's victory, China had won all 3 of the weightlifting events in Tokyo, so her efforts haven't gone unnoticed.
Diaz added: "I'm looking forward to enjoying life because I have been in Malaysia for, I don't know, almost 2 years, so I'm really thankful I can go home now and celebrate with my family and the people who support me."
"Congratulations, Hidilyn," said a spokesperson for President Rodrigo Duterte on Twitter. "The entire Filipino nation is proud of you. Laban, Pilipinas!"
What an amazing achievement!