Hidilyn Diaz
Hidilyn Diaz Image Credit: AFP

Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz made history on Monday when she became the first athlete from the Philippines to win an Olympic gold medal.

The 30-year-old 2016 silver medallist from the southern city of Zamboanga realised her dream in the women’s 55kg class at the Tokyo International Forum, smashing her personal best to see off world record holder Liao Qiuyun of China who had to settle for silver.

Diaz overtook Liao on her last lift in the clean and jerk to win with a total 224kg. That was one more than Liao.

China had won all three events so far and were hoping to sweep the gold medals in the eight competitions their athletes have entered. Liao came into the competition as the world record holder with a total 227kg.

Zulfiya Chinshanlo of Kazakhstan took bronze with 213kg. Chinshanlo won what was then the 53kg class at the 2012 London Olympics but was stripped of her gold medal after a positive test for two banned steroids.