By J. Jala | 09:30 PM July 28, 2021
Pinay Olympic champion Hidilyn Diaz arrived home Wednesday, July 28, just days after her historic Olympic gold medal win in the Tokyo Olympics.
Diaz, who claimed the Philippines’s first Olympic gold in the women’s -55 kgs Monday night, flew home on board Philippine Airlines flight PR 427.
Diaz delivered the Philippines’ maiden Olympic gold, nearly a century later since the country first participated in the Games in Paris 1924.
Diaz’s fellow Tokyo Olympian Margielyn Didal was on board the same flight.
Didal, the Asian skateboarding champion, made the medal round of the women’s street skateboarding.
Diaz and Didal will be quarantined at a hotel for the next seven days, as per local health protocols.
Upon her arrival, Diaz changed into her Philippine Air Force uniform.
Following her golden feat, Diaz was promoted from sergeant to staff sergeant effective Tuesday, July 27.
The pride of Zamboanga City was welcomed by members of the Philippine Air Force, the Philippine Olympic Committee, and the Philippine Sports Committee, who all waited for her just outside NAIA Terminal 2.
Diaz, a Philippine Air Force staff sergeant, wore her military uniform during the virtual meet, which began with her saluting her Commander-in-Chief.
“The nation is ecstatic about your achievement. Your achievement is the achievement of the Philippine nation. We are extremely proud,” said Duterte.
He then acknowledged the sacrifices Diaz has made and spoke of unpleasant events in the past, without being specific.
“Salamat naman sa pagtiis mo. I hope that the years of toil, the years of disappointments, and the years na hindi maganda ang nangyari in the past, just forget them,” said the President.
“You already have the gold. Gold is gold. It can be good for you to just let bygones be bygones and dwell solely on your victory together with your family and, of course, with the nation,” added Duterte.
Diaz is also set to receive the Presidential Medal of Merit, a recognition given by the government to individuals for “gaining prestige for the country in an international event, in the fields of literature, the sciences, the arts, entertainment, and other civilian fields of endeavor that foster national pride and artistic excellence,” according to Executive Order No. 236, series of 2003.
Diaz is set to receive a prize windfall of over P50 million, which includes P10 million as mandated by law.