On July 26, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz made history as the first Filipino to bag a gold medal at the Olympics. She bested all her competitors at the women's 55kg weightlifting competition in Tokyo, finishing strong (literally) at the final 127kg clean and jerk.
That said, Hidilyn's eventual claim to the gold was a rough climb for the athlete. Back in June 2019, the 30-year-old weightlifter opened up about her financial difficulties while training for the Olympics, which was then slated for 2020.
She wrote on an Instagram story, "Is it okay to ask sponsorship sa mga private companies towards Tokyo 2020? Hirap na hirap na ko, I need financial support."
Hidilyn timidly asked her followers' opinion on the matter, stating that financial aid would help in her goal of winning Olympic gold. "Sa tingin niyo okay lang kaya, nahihiya kasi ako pero try ko kapalan mukha ko para sa minimithi kong pangarap para sa atin bansa na maiuwi ang Gold Medal sa Olympics," she said.
The athlete's call for assistance made headlines and led many to clamor for support from the government. Though there are no reports on whether Hidilyn pushed through in requesting aid from private institutions, the weightlifter was successfully able to complete her rigorous training in Malaysia before flying to Japan to compete.
Despite this financial hurdle, Hidilyn kept her eyes on the grand prize and continued to train. And as we all know now, it has all finally paid off.
In fact, Hidilyn is set to receive 33 million pesos worth of cash prizes from the government (P10 million) and the private sector (P23 million). Spin reports that additional pledges and donations could even make her prize reach the 50 million mark, according to a statement by Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Bambol Tolentino.
It doesn't stop there. In a press release, the Megaworld Corporation pledged a brand new 14 million-peso condominium in Eastwood City as a gift for her win. Another real estate prize will come from the POC president himself, who pledged a house and lot in Tagaytay. PHirst Park Homes of Century Properties has also announced that they'll be awarding Hidilyn a four million-peso house in any existing PHirst Park community.
Hidilyn won a ton of travel perks as well, courtesy of Philippine Airlines and Airasia. For PAL, the Olympian will be their first "forever flyer," who will receive "80,000 free miles a year, for life." The same goes for Airasia, where Hidilyn can take unlimited flights through the airline for a lifetime.
She'll be receiving a ton of beauty products from L'Oréal, too! The group will be allocating P600,000 worth of products from brands like L'Oréal Paris, Maybelline, Kiehl's, Garnier, and Kérastase among Team HD, which is pretty much a lifetime supply.
Last but definitely not the least, Hidilyn and her future family are entitled to a one million peso scholarship grant from Eton International School. Basically, she's set up for life!
From training with a homemade barbell to winning two Olympic medals that put the Philippines back on the map, Hidilyn Diaz's journey is not a story of resilience. It's a story of an athlete who relentlessly reached for her dream and beat all the odds.
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