Hidilyn Diaz not only modeled the hard work it took to claim the country's first Olympic gold medal, but also her unwavering faith in her journey.
Diaz thinks it was a miracle that she was able to lift 127kg in the clean and jerk – a challenge she only successfully overcame on the Olympic stage – and she thanked her friends, family, and Filipino fans for their prayers.
"Siguro si God iyon and all the people who prayed... Sobrang thankful ako sa lahat ng nagdasal and nagnobena," said Diaz a day after she won the Olympic gold.
(I guess that was God and all the people who prayed for me... I'm thankful to those who prayed and did the novena.)
Along with the gold medal, Diaz also noticeably wore the Miraculous Medal of Our Lady around her neck during the Olympic awarding ceremony.
“Binigay ng friend ko, nag-novena sila for nine days before my competition. Ako din nag-novena. It’s a sign of prayers nila and faith ko rin to Mama Mary and Jesus Christ,” said Diaz.
(It was given by a friend, they prayed the novena for nine days before my competition. I also prayed the novena. It’s a sign of their prayers and my faith in Mama Mary and Jesus Christ.)
Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines president Romulo Valles noted how Diaz clearly draws "strength from her love for the country and deep Catholic faith."
"Her victory was captured through many lenses and in one of these photos was her holding the gold medal and wearing a Miraculous Medal of Our Lady on her chest," said Valles.
"We admire her devotion to the Blessed Mother as she carried in her victory her great faith in God."
Diaz also told volleyball star and TV reporter Gretchen Ho in an interview that she will first fulfill her tithes from her cash windfall, which was running at P48.5 million as of Sunday, August 1.
Diaz, though, chose to forgive all those who doubted and bashed her.
"Wala na ako nararamdamang sakit pero sana lang hindi iyon mangyayari sa iba kasi hindi lahat kagaya ko na kayang itiis and balewalain ang nangyari. Sa lahat nang nagbash, I forgive them," she said.
(I don't feel the pain anymore, but I just hope it doesn't happen to others because not everyone can endure and move on from what happened. To all those who bashed me, I forgive them.)
Valles hopes Diaz will continually be blessed with perseverance.
"Hidilyn is a true weightlifter who draws her strength from her love for the country and her deep Catholic faith," he said. – Rappler.com
More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.