ZAMBOANGA CITY – Rio Olympian and silver medallist Hidilyn Diaz arrived in her hometown in Zamboanga where she was given a hero’s welcome by the local government and fans.
Diaz literally walked on the red carpet after disembarking from a plane that brought her home from Davao City where she met with President Rodrigo Duterte late Friday. Duterte introduced Diaz to journalists who covered the president’s news conference.
Duterte handed P7 million to Diaz as her incentive for winning the silver medal in the weightlifting completion in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
A grand motorcade followed Diaz in Zamboanga where residents lined up the streets to see her in person. Wearing a red jacket emblazoned with the Philippine flag, Diaz – an air force reserve – waved her medal as her convoy pass the busy roads. Many of those who greeted her also waved small Philippine flags as Diaz brought home the first Olympic medal in 20 years and igniting the Filipino patriotism and nationalism.
Climaco said the local government will also provide Diaz another P500,000 as incentive for winning in the Rio Olympic and inspiring many Filipino athletes.
Diaz said she will spend some of the money to buy a piece of land in her village in Mampang and build a gym to help other athletes and weightlifters, and those who are into sports to train for free and prepare for their future games both nationally and abroad.
“Bibilhin ko yun lupa sa tabi ng bahay namin at magpapatayo ako ng gym. Yun ibang pera hindi ko po alam kung ano ang gagawin ko,” said Diaz, whose father is a motorcycle taxi driver and mother who is a housekeeper.
Politicians also flocked Diaz in an effort to ride on her popularity now. (Mindanao Examiner)
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