Hidilyn Diaz has once again made the country proud and this time around she's coming home with the first gold of the Philippines in the 2018 Asian Games.
Adding to her medal tally after capturing the silver in the 2016 Rio Olympics, Diaz came from behind to claim the top spot of the women's 53-kg category in the weightlifting competition at the Jakarta International Expo Hall A in Indonesia on Tuesday.
Diaz lifted a total of 207 kilograms to best the challenge of Turkmenistan's Kristina Shermetova (206 kg) and Surodchana Khambao (201 kg).
"I'm happy and grateful. I thank the [Philippine Olympic Committee] and [Philippine Sports Commission] for the support," Diaz told ESPN5. "It's my honor to represent and it's my honor to bring home the gold from the Asian Games."
She had to battle back in the contest as Shermetova led in snatch with 93 kg as compared to Diaz's 92. However, the Filipina lifter knew she could make her move at clean and jerk. Both leaders cleared 110 kg in their first try at clean and jerk but Turkmenistan's bet failed to clear 113 kg on her second lift.
Diaz made her move by clearing 115 kg and put the pressure on her opponent. Shermetova then tried to lift 116 kg but was unsuccessful, handing the gold medal to the 27-year-old Diaz.
"She just led by one kilo and I know I am stronger at clean and jerk so I knew I was going to win. I struggled with snatch. I didn't have my confidence so I was happy when I lifted 92 kilos in snatch," she added.
This was Diaz's third stint in the Asian Games but only her first medal. She debuted in the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar where she finished 10th in the 53-kg category. She went up in weight in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China where she performed better, finishing sixth in the 58-kg category.
After that, Diaz had the best stretch of her career as she decided to go back down to the 53-kg category.
"It's not easy," Diaz said. "In my first Asian Games, I just joined for the experience. In my second I was sixth of 12. This just shows it takes years to be a champion."
In the last edition of the Asian Games, Hsu Shu-Ching of Chinese Taipei won the gold medal with a total of 233 kg. He defeated Zulfiya Chinshanlo (228 kg) of Kazakhstan and Zhang Wangjong (228 kg) of China.
Hsu was also the gold medalist in the 2016 Rio Olympics where Diaz took home the silver.
China and Kazakhstan were not allowed to compete in the weightlifting competitions as they are among nine countries currently serving 12-month suspensions from the International Weightlifting Federation for doping violations.
"I think this is my stepping stone for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and I'll do everything to make it to my last Olympics," Diaz closed. "We once again showed that we can be champions in weightlifting."