Juxtaposed: Lavish prizes for Hidilyn Diaz now and her financial woes at training

July 27, 2021 - 6:33 PM
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Hidilyn Diaz in Tokyo Olympics 2020
Gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz of the Philippines reacts in Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Weightlifting - Women's 55kg - Medal Ceremony at the Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Japan on July 26, 2021. (Reuters/Edgard Garrido)

Cash, real estate and other perks poured in for Hidilyn Diaz from private companies after her record-breaking weightlifting feat at the Tokyo Olympics.

Aside from bringing home the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medal, Diaz will also receive lavish gifts and incentives worth millions when she returns home.

As mandated by law, Diaz is set to receive P10 million to be issued by Philippine Sports Commission.

The rest of the prizes from companies and businessmen so far are:

  1. P10 million from Manny V. Pangilinan of PLDT
  2. P10 million from Ramon Ang of San Miguel Corporation
  3. P3 million from deputy speaker and Rep. Mikee Romero of 1-Pacman Party-list
  4. House and lot in Tagaytay courtesy of Philippine Olympic president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino
  5. A P14 million condominium unit in Eastwood City in Quezon City from Megaworld Corporation
  6. A house and lot from Century Properties
  7. Free plane rides for a lifetime from AirAsia
  8. 80,000 miles of flight from the Philippine Philippines every year for a lifetime

A different story back then

Some social media users recalled that back in 2019, Diaz, already a Rio Olympics medalist, was financially struggling as she trained. She appealed for sponsorships from companies and private individuals to finance her training for this event.

The weightlifter even made an appeal on her Instagram Stories.

“Is it okay to ask sponsorship sa mga private companies towards Tokyo 2020? Hirap na hirap na ako, I need financial support…

“Sa tingin niyo okay lang kaya, nahihiya kasi ako pero try ko kapalan mukha ko para sa minimithi kong pangarap para sa atin bansa na maiuwi ang Gold Medal sa Olympics.”

READ: Hidilyn Diaz gives us a peek at troubles of top athletes over funding

Copies of this screenshot resurfaced across platforms following Diaz’s historic win.

For many, it serves as a reminder of the country’s lack of support for its own athletes.

“Never forget the time Hidilyn Diaz begged for sponsorship to support her needs. Now, look at her bragging the first gold medal for the Philippines! (clapping emojis) A woman. Dedicated to her sports. She is indeed the moment. Congratulations, Miss Hidilyn! We are proud of you. MABUHAY KA!” one user said.

“Do not let Hidilyn Diaz’ triumph distract you from the fact that she was neglected by the government during her preparations nung 2019 and that she had no choice but to beg for private sponsors,” another user wrote.

One Twitter user also recalled that Diaz was “attacked” by government supporters at that time.

“Hidilyn Diaz was trolled and attacked because she exposed the lack of government support for athletes,” the user said.

Diaz trained with two coaches, Chinese coach Gao Kaiwen and Guamanian coach and boyfriend Julius Naranjo, in Malaysia for nearly two years.

She went to Malaysia in February 2020. When the pandemic hit, she, along with her coaches, was unable to go home.

Since then, the three of them whom she called Team HD persevered to train in makeshift gyms during the pandemic.

READ: MVP Sports Foundation finally reaps fruit with Hidilyn Diaz’s Olympic gold

TV host Gretchen Ho quote-retweeted an old video clip from a news outlet on how Diaz trained while cities and towns were locked down.