President Duterte to Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz: 'Saludo ako sa iyo'
Hidilyn Diaz proudly displays her silver medal inside the Athletes' Village. Jerome Ascano

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte echoed the sentiments of a grateful nation over Olympic heroine Hidilyn Diaz's silver medal in the Rio de Janeiro Games, saying he looks forward to honoring her when she comes home.

"Saludo ako sa iyo," Duterte said at the end of his tribute to the country's first woman athlete to win an Olympic medal during an interview with reporters in Davao City that was carried by CNN Philippines.

Diaz, who like Duterte is from Mindanao, ended a 20-year medal drought for the Philippines in the quadrennial showpiece when she finished second behind Chinese Taipei's Hsu Shu-ching in the 53-kilogram weight class in weightlifting.

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The silver, the country's first in weightlifting, ended a dry spell that dated back to Mansueto 'Onyok' Velasco's silver-medal finish in boxing in the 1996 Games in Atlanta.

Duterte said he was amazed by the 25-year-old Zamboanguena's Olympic feat, adding he can't wait to welcome to Malacanang an athlete who has brought so much pride and honor to the country.

"Bilib na ako sa 'yo, mam," Duterte said.

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