Hidilyn Diaz gave the Philippines its first Olympic gold medal in the 2020 Tokyo Games on Monday (July 26).
Diaz, who lifted an Olympic record of 127 kilograms to defeat world champion and rival Liao Qiuyun of China, immortalized herself in the annals of sports history. But more than anything, she gave a beleaguered nation hope in a time of despair.
It should come as no surprise that her triumphant victory has become a momentous event for millions of Filipinos who took social media to celebrate the achievement of Diaz.
Leading the celebration were Diaz's fellow sporting personalities who expressed their joy and showered her with gratitude for making the Olympic dream a reality.
The lone eight-division world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, who is hard at work while preparing for his bout against Errol Spence Jr., saluted the Filipina weightlifter.
Filipino mixed martial arts icon Eduard "The Landslide" Folayang, who is a good friend of Diaz, also shared a heartfelt message in reaction to the historical gold medal conquest.
Basketball stalwarts Thirdy Ravena and Kai Sotto thanked Diaz for being an inspiration.
This right here! Congrats Hidilyn! 🇵🇭🥇 https://t.co/a0kzlfruJJ
— Kai Sotto (@kzsottolive) July 26, 2021
A mixed bag of reactions from PBA stars in Gabe Norwood, LA Tenorio and Junemar Fajardo, among many others, came in the way of Diaz as well.
Renowned sports couple Kiefer Ravena and Alyssa Valdez could not rein in their emotions following Diaz's win.
— Alyssa Valdez (@AlyssaValdez2) July 26, 2021
I’m not crying, you’re crying. 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😫😫😫😫😫😫 https://t.co/N9ArjXulhH
— Kiefer Ravena (@kieferravena) July 26, 2021
With social distancing measures in place, the rest of the athlete inside the Olympic village could not rush towards Diaz and rejoice as one, but they made sure to bombard her with love online.
Filipino boxer Eumir Marcial, who has yet to start his campaign in the Tokyo Games, posted a congratulatory photo on his account.
Pole vaulter EJ Obiena and skateboarder Margielyn Didal poured out their emotions on social media as well.
Government officials spearheaded by Vice President of the Philippines Leni Robredo also became a part of a long chorus of Filipinos in singing praises of the Filipina trailblazer.
Big win for the Philippines!! Thank you for making us proud, Hidilyn🇵🇭💪🏼 https://t.co/l4YDqTNMH4
— Leni Robredo (@lenirobredo) July 26, 2021
Meanwhile, Senate President and Philippine Bowling Federation chairman Vicente "Tito" Sotto III relished hearing the national anthem in the Olympiad for the first time while expressing his gratitude to Diaz.
First time our national anthem is heard in the Olympics! Congratulations to all. Thank you Hidylin!!!
— Tito Sotto (@sotto_tito) July 26, 2021
The brightest stars of the entertainment industry joined the fray as well.
Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, who has also represented the flag and country in several pageants across the globe, applauded Diaz's efforts.
Mabuhay ka Hidilyn!!!! 🏅🏅🏅🏅🇵🇭🇵🇭🇵🇭 https://t.co/bJPCDjv6NC
— Catriona Gray (@catrionaelisa) July 26, 2021
For her part, multi-awarded singer and actress Lea Salonga, the voice behind 'We Win As One' — the official theme song of the 2019 SEA Games, basked in the glorious moment of Diaz.
— Lea Salonga (@MsLeaSalonga) July 26, 2021
Angel Locsin, a famed actress and activist, shared a congratulatory photo on her Instagram account, putting an emphasis on Diaz's contribution to women empowerment.
The golden girl of Philippine sports truly made a mark in the hearts of every Filipino, so do expect that this will not be the only time we will celebrate her success in the biggest sports spectacle in the world.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.