(Photo from PSC)

MANILA – Catholic prelates on Tuesday joined the nation in celebrating the victory of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz who made history after winning the Philippines' first Olympic gold medal.

Manila Archbishop Jose Cardinal Advincula said Diaz gave inspiration to all Filipinos, especially athletes.

“Thank you, Hidilyn [Diaz], for the tremendous honor you have bestowed on our country. Your success gives light, inspiration, and hope to all of us, especially in these difficult times,” he said in an interview over Church-run Radio Veritas.

The Cardinal also acknowledged the faith of Diaz and for always trusting God in all the fights that she competed in.

“Thank you also for the testimony of your strong faith in God and deep love for the Blessed Virgin Mary. Thank you for reminding us that there is no real success if it does not come from God,” he said.

On the other hand, Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos said Diaz’s victory showed that people can conquer challenges in their lives.

“With the victory of Hidilyn (Diaz) at the Olympics, winning gold she has shown to us that Filipino can. We can rise up from all challenges in life. We can surmount all obstacles. Taking her what she has done and said, let us have faith in God, believe in ourselves, and do all for our Country. With God for gold through the Miraculous Medal. Congratulations Hidilyn and you make us proud as Filipinos,” the Catholic bishop added.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) also congratulated Diaz over her victory.

“On behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, I extend my utmost gratitude to Hidilyn for bringing honor to our country with her determined spirit and undying passion for what she does,” CBCP president Archbishop Romulo Valles said in a statement.

“Her victory was captured through many lenses and in one of these photos was her holding the gold medal and wearing a Miraculous Medal of Our Lady on her chest. We admire her devotion to the Blessed Mother as she carried in her victory her great faith in God. Hidilyn is a true weightlifter who draws her strength from her love for the country and her deep Catholic faith,” he added.

In 2018, the athlete was a guest at the 5th Philippine Conference on New Evangelization 5 (PCNE 5) in 'Listening Heart with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle' where she shared that part of being an athlete is to fall, lose and get hurt but the athlete emphasized faith to God and to the ability bestowed.

On Monday, Diaz lifted a total of 224 kilograms to win the gold medal, ending the country's Olympic gold medal drought for almost a century since it first joined the international sporting event in 1924. (PNA)