Hidilyn Diaz went through a lot after taking the silver in 2016 Summer Olympics and from there even she had doubts she could surpass or even duplicate that success four years later.
Nonetheless, armed with the power of prayers and the support of the millions of Filipinos all over the world, she carried the fight and accomplished what she once believed to be impossible.
Breaking the Olympic record in the clean and jerk and total and, more importantly, winning the Philippines’ first-ever Olympic gold medal.
“Hindi ako mapakapaniwala.
“Hindi ako makapaniwala na naiuwi ko ito para sa inyo. Nasurpresa ako na nagawa ko ‘yun. Kakaiba si God,” Diaz told MVPSF ambassador Gretchen Ho after she exited the competition hall, bearing the glittering golden medal.
The 30-year-old native of Zamboanga was just grateful to everyone who supported her along the way. She dedicated the victory to these esteemed individuals and the rest of the Filipino people.
“At sa lahat ng mga prayer warriors ko diyan sa Pilipinas, thank you so much. At sa Team HD at sa lahat ng sumuporta sa’kin, thank you so much for believing in me when there are times na gusto ko ng sumuko dahil sa dami ng pagsubok na pinagdaanan,” she said.
“Nakaya natin. Kaya nating mga Pilipino.”
Going into the hall for the competition earlier in the evening, Diaz looked composed and confident that she could pull through.
However, as the sports star shared, looks can really be deceiving.
She admitted, “Sa totoo lang kinakabahan ako, baka hindi ko magawa.
“Pero the whole day, the whole week, sinsabi ko na, ‘I believe. I believe.’
“At saka sa lahat ng pinagdaanan ko, pinrepare ako ni God para maging strong today. Thankful ako na sa Team HD na ginawa akong malakas,” she expressed.
The result showed her strength not only literally (as she needed it to be able to lift the weighted plates and the bar), but also figuratively (the composure and focus). So evident, that Diaz was actually etching her name into the Olympic record books.
“Actually hindi ko alam na Olympic record na ‘yung ginagawa ko. Hindi nga ko makapaniwala na andoon ‘yung pangalan ko sa Olympic record, so I’m really thankful,” the four-time Olympian humbly said.
However, like any success, people need to go through everything to finally covert their ambitions into reality.
The Philippine Air Force sergeant narrated, “Ang dami kong pinagdaanan, after winning sa Olympics ang hirap magsustain. Nag-9/9 ako [sa isang competition], tapos nagkaroon ng matrix, tapos nakapag-train ako sa BMP. Sobrang gulo ng buhay ko nung time na ‘yon.
“And then, we decided I have to stop in school (Saint Benilde) para mag-training. I sacrificed a lot. Hindi ko nakasama ‘yung tatay at nanay ko for how many months, how many years na. And then sa training masakit, lahat masakit sa training pero may plano si God.”
What even made it difficult was when the COVID-19 pandemic struck forcing her to stay in Malaysia as travel restrictions come into place for entries into the country.
“Malaking bagay yung gina-guide ako ni God. Tapos noon, nasa Malaysia kami pinadala niya ‘yung mga taong tutulong sa min nung pandemic. Kaya sobrang thankful ako. Alam mo ‘yung nagte-training kami sa condominium. Talagang mahirap ‘yung buhay that time,” she said.
“Pero nakaya namin, together with the team. Alam kong lahat ng hirap na pinagdaanan ko may reason si God. So malaking bagay para sa’ki, worth it ‘to. Worth it ang hirap.”