(CMR) Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz made history Monday, becoming the first athlete from the Philippines to win gold at the Olympics.
The 30-year-old set an Olympic record, lifting a combined weight of 224 kilograms, to take the top spot in the women's 55-kg class in Tokyo.
Diaz, one of two women who represented the country in weightlifting, burst into tears and embraced her coaches after the record-breaking lift.
The weightlifter ended the country's 97-year Olympic drought and now will be rewarded for her historic accomplishment. Diaz will receive at least 33 million pesos – about $600,000 – from the country. According to CBS News, she has also been offered two homes by two leading real estate companies in the Philippines.
Philippines Presidential spokesperson, Harry Roque, congratulated Diaz for “bringing pride and glory” to the island nation, adding that “The entire Filipino nation is proud of you.”
Diaz, who had been training in Malaysia, said she was now looking forward to going home.
“I'm looking forward to enjoying life because I've been in Malaysia for almost three years, so I'm really thankful that I can go home now and celebrate with my family,” she said, according to the AP.
Diaz won a silver medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games and said it was a “dream come true” to win gold.
“I just want to say that we Filipino are strong. We Filipino can compete here at the Olympics. We can do it. To all the young generation in the Philippines, please dream high. That's how I started. I dreamed high, and finally, I was able to do it,” she said.
Prior to Diaz's gold, the Philippines had won 10 Olympic medals, 3 silvers, and 7 bronzes over the years.