- PH weightlifter’s silver-place finish came after Chinese opponent failed the clean and jerk portion
- Pundits originally expected the top two finishers in Diaz’s weight class to be Chinese
- Diaz said she herself was surprised after learning that the Chinese competitor bowed out
MANILA, Philippines – Just like Vietnam, the Philippines managed to slay the Goliath that was China in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Sportscasters originally expected the women’s 53kg weightlifting division where newly-minted silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz belongs to be lorded over by Chinese powerhouses Li Yajun (China) and Hsu Shu-ching (Chinese Taipei).
They were initially correct as Hsu led the pack from the start with a 101kg score in the snatch portion. Behind her was Li at a close second with 100kg.
Hsu, the eventual gold medal winner, scored a commanding 212kg in the final tally after also dominating the clean and jerk portion.
Diaz, on the other hand, settled for sixth place in the snatch portion but would later make up for it with a stellar performance in the clean and jerk.
Li, on the other hand, surprisingly failed to lift a single barbell three times in the same portion after she hyperextended her left elbow during her first attempt to lift 123kg. In the end, she crashed out of the medal tally.
At this point, Diaz, already guaranteed a bronze medal with a total lift score of 200kg, was pushed a notch higher at the podium—a result that left even her surprised but otherwise ecstatic.
“I expected to win the bronze going to this competition, na-shock ako nung sinabi sa akin na na-zero yung China [I was shocked after being told that China got zero],” the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted her as saying.
“Naramdaman ko ang presence ni God kanina nung bumubuhat ako,” Diaz added.
[I felt God’s presence earlier when I was lifting.]