In August 7, 2016, Hidilyn Diaz ended the Philippines’ 60-year Female Filipino Olympian drought, 20-year Olympic medal drought and two other decade-long droughts by winning silver in the women’s 53kg division in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil during the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Diaz, a native of Zamboanga City, became the first Filipino female Olympic medalist since the Philippines started fielding female athletes exactly six decades ago. Female Filipino athletes’ debut in the Olympics happened during the 1956 summer games.
She also snapped the country’s two decade medal-less Olympic streak. The Philippines’ last Olympic medal came when Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco won the bronze for boxing in 1996.
In addition, she became the first Filipino medalist in weightlifting, ending a 68 year medal drought in the discipline and also the first non-boxer to stand on the podium, ending an 80 year drought.
The Philippines send a total of 14 participants in weightlifting since 1956. She was the only female participant and the first medalist.
The last non-boxer win a medal was Miguel White, who won an athletics bronze in men’s 400 meter hurdles during the 1936 summer games. Only Teófilo Yldefonso and Simeon Toribio were the other non-boxers to land a medal. And these were also ages ago.
Yldefonso is the only multiple Filipino medalist in the olympics, garnering two bronzes in the 200 meter breaststroke during the 1928 and 1932 editions. Toribio won a bronze in men’s high jump during the 1932 edition in Los Angeles.
Diaz joins Yldefonso, Toribio, White, José Villanueva, Anthony Villanueva, Leopoldo Serantes, and brothers Roel and Mansueto Velasco as the other previous Filipino Olympic medalists.
She, Villanueva and Onyok Velasco are the only silver medalists in the group. Villanueva won his medal for bantamweight division in the 1932 edition while Velasco got his for light flyweight division.
By: ARMANDO M. BOLISLIS
See next parts:
Remembering 2016, Part 3: BEERacle, SMB engineers Mother of all Hoops Comebacks
Remembering 2016, Part 4: Cavs overhauls a 1-3 hole to the 73-9 Warriors, ends 45 year drought
Remembering 2016, Part 5: Wala Nang Kangkongan, Ginebra Ends 8-year championship drought
Remembering 2016, Part 6: Green Archers shoots down Blue Eagles to break a tie with their bitter rival