Senate fetes Hidilyn for Olympic silver
Senators yesterday feted Filipino Olympian Hidilyn Diaz for bringing home a silver medal from the Rio Olympics, showering her with praise at the Senate session hall.
Boxing champ Sen. Manny Pacquiao led the roster of senators who welcomed Diaz at the Senate, relating with her difficult path towards victory being a longtime athlete himself.
Diaz won the silver medal in the women’s 53-kg weightlifting competition at the Rio Games last week, becoming the first Filipino woman to win an Olympic medal and the first Filipino to make a podium finish since boxer Onyok Velasco won a silver in the 1996 Atlanta Games.
In a brief interview, a smiling and bespectacled Diaz said: “Thank you for your trust and support in me.”
In sponsoring the congratulatory resolution for Diaz, Pacquiao took stock of her feat as the first Filipino woman to win an Olympic medal.
“After 20 years that our country did not win anything in the Olympic Games, Hidilyn Diaz gave us a reason to celebrate,” said Pacquiao, chair of the Senate committee on sports.
“I know it wasn’t an easy journey for you to reach that. You faced hardships and almost gave up. Your perseverance has borne fruit,” said Pacquiao, who, like Diaz, excelled in his chosen sport despite enduring training in run-down facilities.
He said Diaz proved that Filipinos could fight and win in the Olympics.
“She has given us reason to dream bigger for ourselves. With the help and support of everyone, we will have the ability to compete in international competitions,” Pacquiao said.
Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, who are among lawmakers pushing for grassroots athletic development, called Diaz’s victory “unprecedented.”
“More importantly, it is inspiring, serving as a clear reminder for the entire nation of the great things Filipinos are capable of achieving. With Hidilyn’s win, all of us remember that victory is achieved with hard work, diligence and faith in God,” Angara said.
Sen. Nancy Binay described Diaz’s victory as a symbol of the Filipinos’ strength.
“Hidilyn stands for the courage and perseverance that Filipinos show, especially in the face of challenges. What she went through is full of lessons and inspiration,” Binay said.
The Senate passed the congratulatory resolution with the concurrence of the entire floor after a brief banter between Pacquiao and Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon.
Drilon stood up for a brief interpellation of the athlete-senator, at which point Pacquiao quipped in jest: “I will answer questions if he can survive three rounds (of boxing).”
The hall erupted in laughter.
Drilon then ribbed Pacquiao if he was giving an incentive to Diaz, to which the billionaire senator replied: “Definitely, I will give incentives from my own pocket but will not announce it. It’s personal.”
Diaz has by far received a P2-million incentive from President Duterte and a P5-million bonus under the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Law.
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