HIDILYN Diaz admitted the gesture of President Rodrigo Duterte in holding a send-off for the Olympics-bound Filipino athletes played a huge role in her historic silver-medal finish.
Diaz and the rest of the Olympians based in Manila went to Malacanang days before leaving for Rio De Janeiro where President Duterte showed his support to the Philippine team.
Diaz said Duterte was an inspiration to them to give their best in Rio, and it bore fruit as Diaz captured the silver medal in the weightlifting competitions of the Olympic Games - the first Filipina to medal in the quadrennial showcase.
“Nakaka-inspire na nagka-send off party with President Digong,” said Diaz on Thursday night during her courtesy call to the President.
“Pinakita niya lang na binibigyan niya kami ng suporta,” she added.
When asked how exactly he inspired the Rio Olympians, the President had a quick response.
“Maybe the inspiration was sinabi ko sa kanila, ‘Wag kayo umuwi kapag hindi nanalo,’” said President Duterte.
Turning serious, President Duterte said Diaz’s feat is an honor to the country after she broke the 20-year medal drought of the country in the Olympics.
“Sabi ko, do your best. The honor is there, go for it. It will be a long quest. It would be a tedious one. If you bring honor to the country, I’ll be happy,” he added.