Born on February 20th, 1991 in a small village in Philippines as the 5th of 6 children, Hidilyn Francisco Diaz never knew that her life would one day become inspirational to women and all those who love winning.
Diaz’s childhood was just as colourful as every other child. She was not exempted from problems and life’s challenges. When she was in elementary school, she had to go with her father who was a tricycle driver, farmer and a fisherman to sell vegetables and fish. Her family also experienced hardships where they had to eat rice with only salt and soy sauce. She grew up wanting to become a banker and trying several sports like basketball and volleyball. She attended University while juggling weight-lighting.
Despite the difficulties she had encountered, the young girl still braved her way to her biggest dreams as she turned poverty into her greatest motivation to excel in her passion which is weightlifting.
Diaz started developing an interest in weightlifting at a very young age. Inspired by her cousin Allen Jayfrus Diaz who taught her the basics of weightlifting. She used to have homemade barbells made with plastic pipes and concrete weights, shaped in tin cans for her early training. As she began to join some weightlifting competitions, someone donated a barbell to her and she began receiving more barbells and weights as she won competitions.
Before the 2016 Olympics, Diaz had already succeeded in numerous competitions, winning medals in the Southeast games. Bronze in 2007, silvers in 2011and 2013, gold in 2015 Asian weightlifting championship, world weightlifting championship in 2015 bronze, bronze in 2016, bronze in 2017 and 2019 world championship, silver in 2019 Asian championship, gold in 2018 Asian games and another gold in the recently concluded Southeast Asian Games in Manila. Then 2021 Olympic gold in Tokyo
Diaz started the 2010s Olympics with modest success in the Southeast Asian game. She had also bagged gold at the 2015 Asian weightlifting championship, 2016 Olympics Asian games and 2019 Southeast Asian games
After her success in the 2016 Olympics, Diaz decided to continue her tertiary education and intended to pursue a degree related to sports in Manila.
In 2018, Diaz went on a leave of absence for her schooling as she had focused on Olympic preparation after winning the Asian games
In 2020, Diaz had re-enrolled into online classes since the summer Olympics had been postponed to July 2021.
On July 26th 2021, Diaz made history by winning the Philippines’ first-ever gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The country had been trying to reach the podium’s top spot for nearly 100 years: it sent its first Olympic delegation to Paris for the 1924 Games.
Her life’s journey is summarised in her own words, “Time will come when you would just want to give up but you need to fight for your dreams. All you need to d is to believe in God, in yourself and your capabilities, and to all people who believe in you.”