Philippines’ first gold medalist rewarded with money and homes
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Hidilyn Diaz won the first Olympic gold medal for the Philippines on Monday. The weightlifter ended the country’s 97-year Olympic drought, and now will be rewarded for her historic accomplishment. Diaz will receive at least 33 million pesos – about $600,000 – from the country. She has also been offered two homes.
The 30-year-old will be given a condo in the Eastwood City development in Quezon City by Megaworld, a property empire owned by real estate tycoon Dr. Andrew L. Tan.
“This epic moment is about 97 years in the making, and this is our way of saying thanks to Hidilyn for making us all proud,” Kevin L. Tan, chief strategy officer of Megaworld Corporation, said in a statement. “We believe that it’s just right to give our first-ever Olympic gold medalist a home in our first-ever township, Eastwood City, where she can enjoy the township lifestyle with her family and loved ones.”
Diaz will have not one, but two places to live. Another leading Philippine real estate company said it would give Diaz a condo unit in an upscale district in Manila, according to the Associated Press.
The two homes are in addition to the 30 million pesos in cash she will receive Philippine officials and companies, the AP reports.
The group of officials and companies pledged the money and rewards to anyone who brought home Olympic gold – a feat for the small country, which only sent 19 athletes to compete in 11 sports at the Tokyo Olympics.
Diaz was one of two women representing the country in weightlifting. She broke into tears after completing an overall lift of 224 kilograms during the event — an Olympic record.
The country’s Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar congratulated the athlete after her win, saying: “We are one with the Filipino nation in celebrating the remarkable and historic success of Hidilyn Diaz in the recently held Women’s 55kg Weightlifting Competition during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.”
“We are so proud of you,” Andanar said in the statement.
After winning gold, Diaz, a four-time Olympian, said she was looking forward to going home and being with her family, who she missed while training overseas. “I’m looking forward to enjoying life because I’ve been in Malaysia for almost three years, so I’m really thankful that I can go home now and celebrate with my family,” she said, according to the AP.
Diaz won a silver medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games but said it was a “dream come true” to win gold. “I just want to say that we Filipino are strong. We Filipino can compete here at the Olympics. We can do it. 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,” she said.