"Diaz saves the day."
Monday’s main event was weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz’s clinching of the gold medal for the Philippines at the Tokyo Olympics.
Amid the days-long stretch of rain and flooding, a recent earthquake, on-and-off rumblings of the Taal volcano, a pandemic that refuses to go away and in fact threatens us with yet another surge, a sagging economy, a coming election that has unleashed a pathetic circus of characters, and a floundering response to all that ail our nation, Diaz’s victory is exactly what we need to prevent us from sinking into despair.
Diaz’s journey is compelling, indeed, starting from when she lifted her first set of weights — buckets of water for her family. This kind of success does not come without painstaking, sometimes frustrating work over long years.
In 2018, Diaz appealed for better governance in Philippine sports, citing the many administrative controversies that hampered her and her fellow athletes’ training. For her forthrightness, she was pilloried by some sectors and accused of letting herself be used for political purposes.
She also made a very public appeal for financial support so she could prepare for the Olympics. Indeed it takes a village to nurture an athlete and flirt with the idea of victory, specifically an Olympic gold. Her reinforced training, thanks to those who heeded her call, allowed her to have a nutritionist, a psychologist, a foreign coach strength and conditioning coach, and plenty of foreign exposure through the Philippine Sports Commission.
Diaz was also the subject of attacks from vicious defenders of the administration that included her in a so-called matrix of personalities plotting to oust the President. None of this was proven, of course, and she focused on her training for the Japan competition, delayed by a year by the pandemic.
All of that is history now, as Diaz set records for both the Olympics and her home country.
At some point, the euphoria will subside, but let us not allow the lessons to fade. Our athletes give us pride and honor, and for all their hard work and sacrifice, they deserve no less than the full support of the government, the private sector and the general public. They set an example to younger sports enthusiasts by living the adage that anything is possible.
We join the rest of the country in hailing a woman of grit and commitment, and all others who continue to toil and train in their respective sports. We needed this lift. Thank you, Hidilyn, for saving the day.