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'Forget disappointments': Duterte congratulates Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday lauded weightlifter and Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz for making the Philippines proud and advised her to forget the disappointments that she experienced in the past.

During a virtual courtesy call with Diaz, Duterte said the nation is "ecstatic" about her achievement and thanked her for her sacrifices.

"Your achievement is the achievement of the Philippine nation. We are extremely proud. We cannot express even in the words how we should really be shouting Hallelujah," the president said.  

"I hope that the years of toils, the years of disappointments, and... the things that were unpleasant in the past, just forget them. You already have the gold. Gold is gold. And it would 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," he added.

In 2019, Diaz appealed for financial help as she was preparing for the Tokyo Olympics. She said she was ready to swallow her pride so she could reach her goal of winning an Olympic gold for the Philippines.

Duterte said Diaz would receive a fully furnished housing unit in Zamboanga City since she is an Air Force sergeant.

"So, you don't need it anymore. Well, maybe someday, if you have relatives, you have a sibling who decides to become a soldier, you might just keep it this time and think of what you should be doing," the president said.

Duterte said he would also confer on Diaz a presidential medal of merit during appropriate ceremonies.

The gold medalist will also receive P3 million from President Duterte and P10 million from the government.

Diaz, who was wearing her Air Force uniform during the courtesy call, thanked the President for the incentives.

Duterte also told Diaz she has been blessed by God and that she can serve the country in another capacity.

"You know the struggle of life is a long, long process, whether it's political... you are already a celebrity, it’s a political stock so, keep note of that. One day you’d want also to see if you can help the country in some other way other than being a soldier," he said.

Duterte said he wanted to meet Diaz during her free time. He ended the courtesy call by saluting the weightlifter, who ended the Philippines' 97-year wait for Olympic gold. 

2021 TOKYO OLYMPICS HIDILYN DIAZ RODRIGO DUTERTE
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