Do you remember what we felt when Joseph Schooling won our first gold medal? Just imagine that, but with the usual Filipino fervor right now, because that’s what’s happening in the Philippines, after female weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz bagged the country’s first gold medal and broke the 55kg women’s weightlifting record.
Who is Hidilyn Diaz?
Hidilyn Francisco Diaz, 30, recently broke Olympic records for the women’s 55 kg weightlifting category, while also bringing home her country’s first gold medal.
She was born as the fifth of six siblings, and her father Emerlito was a fisherman and a farmer.
She attended University of Zamboanga in the Philippines to study computer science, but dropped out as the course of study was not right for her. After trying out several sports and wishing to become a banker, she instead got into weighlifting, courtesy of one of her cousins.
She struggled during events prior to the 2016 Rio Olympics–mostly due to her weight class, where she was trying to either gain or lose weight to be able to perform better. But when she weighed 57 kg, she failed to even get into the top half of the competitor rankings. She then dropped weight to 53 kg, and began the skyrocket of her Olympic career.
She managed to lift a 98 kg snatch and a 115 kg clean and jerk for a 213 kg total.
Come the 2016 Rio Olympics, she won a silver medal, after setting her own goal that she would bag bronze. Diaz surpassed her own personal target and won the silver medal at the event, after successfully clinching a lift of 88 kg in her second attempt in snatch event (placed 6th) and 111 kg and 112 kg in the first and second attempts in the clean and jerk event (placed 2nd).
She broke Olympic records with a 97 kg snatch and a 127 kg clean and jerk for a 224 kg total.
Hidilyn was also a member of the Philippine Air Force
Also an Airwoman, Hidilyn had been part of the army since 2013. She reportedly ranked Airwoman First Class Sergeant as of publishing, and had received various promotions before that for her prowess in weightlifting. She also had military detail during her Olympic stints.
Who is Hidilyn Diaz’s boyfriend?
According to reports from Philippine media, Hidilyn’s boyfriend was Julius Naranjo, who competed for Guam in the Olympics in the same sport as her. He was said to be a choreographer, filmmaker, and coach. His Instagram featured Hidilyn heavily, showing her training and how he was part of her journey to her Olympic gold.
He was seen to officially be with Hidilyn after her weigh-in as part of TeamHD. He had to leave competing due to a back injury.
Hidilyn Diaz and Joseph Schooling, historical winners for their countries
Both Hidilyn and Joseph were the first to bring home gold medals for their countries, making them literally history-makers, while also beating Olympic records. While Hidilyn beat the Olympic record this July 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Joseph was able to beat his own personal swimming idol, Michael Phelps.
Joseph also set records in the 2016 Olympics, beating Phelps’ old record of 50.58 seconds set in 2008. He was able to set a new record of 50.39 seconds for the 100 m butterfly.
The two struggled during their training. As Joseph’s weight seesawed and he spent time away from the water, he was met with social media bashers. Hidilyn, on the other hand, was incriminated in an alleged plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte, which she said was completely untrue. The baseless accusations leveled against her were said to have affected her journey, and in some cases, made her fear for her life.