China has unexpectedly become a strong theme in Hidilyn Diaz’s golden Olympic victory.
After defeating world record holder Liao Qiuyun of China for the Olympic gold medal, the country’s weightlifting queen declared her belief that the West Philippine Sea belongs to the Philippines.
“Gusto kong sabihin ‘atin iyon eh’ pero siyempre hindi ko naman puwede pakialaman ano man ang international na dispute diyan between how many countries. Pero gusto kong sabihin na atin iyon,” said Diaz on Thursday, July 29, in the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) online forum.
(I want to say that ‘it’s ours’, but of course I can’t meddle with international disputes of the countries. I just want to say that it’s ours.)
The West Philippine Sea is the part of the South China Sea that belongs to the Philippines but China is claiming it as its own.
Diaz weighed in on the dispute after being asked about a viral photo of her wearing a shirt regarding the matter.
“Sa totoo lang bigay po iyon sa akin (It was actually just given to me),” explained Diaz about how she got the shirt.
But in her own game, Diaz proved that Filipinos do not have to back down from China.
“After winning the Olympics, kaya natin (we can win over China) as ordinary people,” added Diaz.
The 30-year-old’s decorated Chinese coach Gao Kaiwen is also facing criticism for helping Diaz vault to the Olympic gold over Chinese star Liao.
Gao has become part of Team Hidilyn Diaz (HD), the support crew behind Diaz in several golden conquests such as the 2018 Asian Games, 2019 Southeast Asian Games, and most recently, the Tokyo Olympics.
Aside from winning the country’s first Olympic gold, Diaz also set Olympic records with her winning lift of 127kg in the clean and jerk, and the total of 224kg.
She became the first Filipina athlete to win double Olympic medals after her 2016 Rio Olympic silver medal conquest.
Swimmer Teofilo Yldefonso is the only multi-medaled Filipino Olympian after winning the bronze in the men’s 200 meter breaststroke in the 1928 Amsterdam and 1932 Los Angeles Games. – Rappler.com