PSC prepares hero’s welcome for Hidilyn Diaz under IATF protocols

<p>Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz<em> (Screenshot from One Sports)</em></p>

Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz (Screenshot from One Sports)

TOKYO – It won’t be long before the entire Philippines welcomes its first Olympic gold medalist, Hidilyn Diaz.

Diaz, who won the women’s 55 kilograms weightlifting competition in Olympic record fashion at the Tokyo International Forum on Monday night, will be flying back home on Wednesday on board a Philippine Airlines flight.

“It’s mandatory,” Philippine Olympic Committee President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, referring to protocols set by the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee. “But more important is that Hidilyn wants to be with her family who she haven’t seen for more than one and a half years now.”

Diaz has been training oversees to prepare for her Olympic stint.

Athletes, coaches, officials and even media are required to leave Japan within 48 hours after the completion of their events or tasks as prescribed by the Tokyo Olympics Playbook.

In Diaz’s case, she has only until Wednesday to return home.

The Philippine Sports Commission is preparing to welcome Diaz, with Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) protocols in mind.

Diaz and her team -- Chinese coach Gao Kaiwen and strength and conditioning coach Julius Naranjo -- will have to be hotel quarantined for seven days as set by the IATF-EID.

After 97 years, Diaz finally snatched the elusive Olympic gold after winning the women's 55-kg weightlifting competition at the Tokyo International Forum in Japan on Monday night.

Diaz, the 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist, prevailed in a neck and neck showdown with China's Liao Qiuyun in the clean-and-jerk lift as their battle for the gold went down the wire.

Finishing tied with Diaz in the snatch with a 97-kg. maximum lift, Liao lifted 126 kg. in her final lift, forcing Diaz to go for 127 to steal the top spot from Liao.

Diaz, however, smoothly cleared the 127-kg. lift to win it all, also setting an Olympic record in the process. Her 224-kg. total is also an Olympic record. (PR)