Philippines celebrates weightlifter’s silver medal in Rio

by Associated Press on August 8, 2016

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines celebrates the silver medal win of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro — and a break to the 20-year medal drought for the Southeast Asian country.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman Ernesto Abella said Monday Duterte joins Filipinos in celebrating Diaz’ victory. He says the president has sent his congratulations to the athlete, an Air Force soldier, who has brought honor to the country.

Vice President Leni Robredo says Diaz serves as an inspiration to every Filipino and a reminder that no challenge is too heavy for a Filipino woman to overcome.

The three-time Olympian’s medal is the Philippines’ first since boxer Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco won the silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Diaz placed during the women’s 53kg weightlifting competition Sunday.