PROMOTED. Philippine Air Force (PAF) chief, Lt. Gen. Allen Paredes (left) poses with newly promoted Staff Sgt. Hidilyn Diaz at the NAIA Terminal 2 shortly after her arrival on Wednesday (July 28, 2021). Diaz was promoted to staff sergeant in honor of her historic gold medal win at the women's 55-kg. weightlifting event at the Tokyo Olympics. (Photo courtesy of Air Force Public Affairs Office)

MANILA – Philippine Air Force (PAF) chief, Lt. Gen. Allen T. Paredes, has pinned weightlifter and Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz with her staff sergeant chevron shortly after she arrived in the country Wednesday.

Hidilyn, a sergeant at the PAF, was promoted to staff sergeant effective Tuesday in honor of her historic gold medal win after dominating the women's 55-kg. weightlifting competition last July 26.

"Being a true hero that she is, she was meritoriously promoted and was pinned with the Staff Sergeant Chevrons by the Commanding General, PAF Lt. Gen. Paredes along with Secretary Eduardo Año," said PAF spokesperson, Lt. Col. Maynard C. Mariano in a statement.

Paredes met and welcomed Diaz during her arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2, Paranaque City along with representatives from the Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Olympic Committee.

Her arrival was immediately followed by a Zoom meeting with President Rodrigo R. Duterte. Health protocols and safety measures were followed during the activity.

As part of the safety protocols against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Diaz will be undergoing the 10-day mandatory quarantine.

"Welcome home, Staff Sergeant Hidilyn F. Diaz PAF!" Mariano said.

Diaz bagged the country's first gold medal since it joined the Olympics in 1924 after dominating the women's 55-kg. weightlifting competition.

Hidilyn, a 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 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. (PNA)