- Hidilyn Diaz has returned to Davao City, Thursday
- Filipina weightlifter at the presidential guest house in Davao City
- Apart from the cash,Diaz will be accorded with the love and attention of the Filipino nation to rejoice her victory
Fresh with her victory at the ongoing Rio Olympics, Pinay weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz has returned to the Philippines on Thursday.
Silver medalist Diaz, who ended the 20-year medal drought of the Philippines in the Olympics, checked out of the athletes’ village in the seaside city of Ipanema, Brazil on Tuesday, then boarded an Emirates flight back to her home country where a hero’s welcome fitting for a weightlifting queen awaits her.
“Excited na ako umuwi pero malungkot ako kasi iiwan ko na kayo. Napamahal na ako sa lahat ng kasama ko dito,” said Diaz when she bid goodbye to fellow Filipino athletes in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil who are yet to fight in their respective events.
[I’m excited to go home but I feel sad to leave you all here. I loved being with all of you.]
After a thanksgiving dinner hosted by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) at the Fogo de Chao, a fancy Brazillian steakhouse, Diaz, along with weightlifter Nestor Colonia and coach Alfonso Aldanete, were brought to the airport with POC second vice president Colonel Jeff Tamayo.
The group left Brazil at 2am Wednesday bound to a 25-hour trip to Dubai. The team touched down at th NAIA terminal 3 at around 5PM, Thursday.
She boarded a plane again at 7:40PM bound to Davao City with her parents Eduardo and Emelita and Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez to meet President Rodrigo Duterte.
Pres. Duterte will receive the Filipina weightlifter at the presidential guest house in Davao City. Diaz will stay overnight in Davao City then fly back to Zamboanga City early Friday on board a private plane courtesy of sports patron Manny V. Pangilinan for her homecoming.
On top of the P5-million cash incentive for Diaz from the Philippine government and a house and lot, the Zamboanga local government has earmarked P500,000 cash incentive to its proud daughter.
Apart from the cash prizes that await Diaz, the Filipina weightlifting queen shall be accorded with the love and attention of the whole Filipino nation to rejoice her victory.
Diaz placed the Philippines in the international scene last Sunday with her silver finish victory as she was feted with the following distinctions: for having her country’s first Olympic medal since 1996, first Filipino to medal in Olympic weightlifting, first Filipina to earn an Olympic medal, first non-boxer to bag medal for the Philippines since 1936 and first Olympic medalist from Mindanao.
The last Filipino Olympian who earned a medal for the Philippines was Onyok Velasco who won bronze in boxing during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.