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Hidilyn Diaz’s Olympic victory belongs to her. And the Filipino people

Hidilyn Diaz’s Olympic victory belongs to her. And the Filipino people

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  • “The shiny gold medal around her neck didn’t just deliver a long-sought-after victory. To some, it delivered a glimmer of hope. Hope that things will change for the better.”

On July 26, for the first time in history, the Philippine National Anthem played in an Olympic event. The victor was a Filipina standing atop of the podium—shrouded in our national colors—with a hint of gold glimmering around her neck. 

Hidilyn Diaz’s run at Olympic gold is cause for celebration. After years of trying, failing, and trying all over again, she finally secured the most coveted prize in sports in the women’s 55-kg weightlifting category at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

It was a moment of national pride. Everyone celebrated her victory online and it was the talk of the entire country. Diaz’s victory even overshadowed the most important political event of the administration: Duterte’s final State of the Nation Address (SONA). 

A quick scroll through your newsfeed or timeline will tell you just how overshadowed the SONA was. A glance at this morning’s headlines and the front pages of physical newspapers will show very little about what happened in the two-hour and 45 minute-long presidential monologue.

Today and yesterday’s news is almost all about Diaz’s success. Well, either that or how much of a rockstar Margielyn Didal is. 

Diaz’s win is symbolic because after going for gold for almost a hundred years, we finally have our first gold medal as a country. It was done—and by a woman. Not just any woman, though, a woman this administration has maliciously red-tagged

David vs. Goliath(s)

Her victory is a classic David and Goliath story. On the surface, she beat China—a world superpower when it comes to economy and sports (to say the least). China has the resources to train its athletes in world-class training camps, while Diaz was basically begging for financial support from the private sector.

If you examine the history and context of her path to victory, it could look an awful lot like our future as a people. 

Just like Diaz was, we are begging for support and scraps from whoever could offer assistance while the government continues to mistreat and red-tag us. Diaz actually trained in Malaysia—in a makeshift home gym, to be specific—with help from her Chinese coach. 

China (who ranked second place to Diaz—which is absolutely satisfying to say) is hot on our heels claiming land and territories that rightfully belong to our country. But in the end, she won. 

And we can, too. 

The trajectory of Diaz’s victory is the same path we are on. The parallelism of her Olympic journey rings too close to what we’ve been experiencing over the last five years to ignore. 

Instead of receiving help from the government, she had to ask for help from fellow Filipinos and even looked outside of the country for support. What was due to her as a representative of the Philippines was not given, so to a foreign land she went to give herself the best chance at succeeding—much like our overseas Filipino workers. 

Our country has long been built on the backs of the ignored and the mistreated. So it’s only poetic justice that she’s a woman, too.

Just like Diaz’s shining moment at the Olympics, our hero’s journey will reach a tipping point next year when we go to the polls to vote. 

Her success against all odds can ignite the fire we’ve lost to jadedness over the current state of affairs. The shiny gold medal around her neck didn’t just deliver a long-sought-after victory. To some, it delivered a glimmer of hope. Hope that things will change for the better. Hope that tells us everything we have fought for will be worth it.

Our country has long been built on the backs of the ignored and the mistreated. So it’s only poetic justice that she’s a woman, too.

Nolisoli.ph © 2020. Hinge Inquirer Publications, Inc.

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