- Olympic silver medalist finally met Duterte in courtesy call
- He upped her total cash reward to P7 million, said he is very proud of her achievement
- He also said hard work plus gov’t backing can work miracles for the country’s athletes
- Diaz planning to put up a weighlifting gym beside her house to help future competitors
MANILA, Philippines – ‘Twas a bonus for a job well done.
Finally meeting President Rodrigo Duterte after winning a silver in the 2016 Rio Olympics, weighlifter Hidilyn Diaz got a pleasant surprise after he raised her cash award to P7 million.
“She got a P5M prize, I added another P2 million,” he said.
Duterte said the bonus is a reward for athletes who sacrifice a lot for their achievements.
“Honor in sports is very hard to get by,” he said.
The president added that a government fully supporting its athletes can produce wonders.
“If we put just put in the discipline and a little help from the national government, we’d get miracles and surprises along the way,” the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted him as saying.
For her part, Diaz said she is planning to build a weightlifting gym beside her house to help young competitors in the sport.
“Plano kong bumili ng lupa sa side ng bahay namin patayuan ko din ng weightlifting gym [I plan to buy a piece of lot beside our house to put up a gym],” she said.
Diaz is the country’s first female athlete to win a medal in the Olympics, as well as the first weightlifter to do so. By winning, she also broke the country’s 20-year medal drought after boxer Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco also won silver in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.