"I will remain focused and determined" - Hidilyn Diaz' powerful message to the Philippines

The first Filipina woman ever to win an Olympic medal tells her country to stay safe and stay inspired during the restrictions related to the coronavirus.

By Ken Browne

When Hidilyn Diaz won a weightlifting silver medal at Rio 2016 she etched her name into Olympic and national history.

The first woman from the Philippines to win an Olympic medal became an instant icon.

Now she's using that status to inspire, reassure, and advise people on what to do in the face of the spread of coronvirus internationally.

"There are things we can’t control and we can’t do anything, the effects of N-Covid19 is something unimaginable," begins her post on social media.

Ready to compete at the Ibero-America Open Championships 2020 in Colombia, Diaz' flight never left the ground due a travel ban put in place by the Colombian government.

It was to be her final event to secure her ticket to Tokyo 2020, where her new life goal is to become the first person from her country to win Olympic gold.

"Most of my Olympic Qualification events are postponed or cancelled, travel ban, city lockdown and country lockdown. Panic, fears and frustration is controlling us right now."

But she isn't giving up.

"As an athlete we don’t stop when we fail once, even twice, the most important thing is we do our best and at the end of the day we won’t regret anything." - Hidilyn Diaz

"I will remain focus and determine to improve every single day together with #TeamHD who prepared me and sacrificed a lot to represent God and Philippines well in Olympics." She added.

"Take care, wash your hands, and social distancing"

Aside from assuring her fans that she has no intention of packing it in, Diaz also had kind words for Italy, where she had her finest moment this year.

Diaz won three gold medals at the Roma 2020 Weightlifting World Cup.

The video in her Instagram post is of the snatch that won her one of those gold medals.

"So far the best snatch technique I have in competitions is... this one in Roma World Cup 2020 in Roma, Italy," she says, before wishing her Italian friends well:

"Speaking of Italy, mio amico and mia amica take care always, be strong you are in my prayers, in my thoughts and worries."

Diaz finishes the post with some practical advice on staying safe during these challenging times.

"To my friends, family, supporters, fans, church mate, kabaro at buddy sa Airforce at co-athletes, please take care, wash your hands and social distancing."

Hidilyn Diaz is on a mission to become the first person from her country to win an Olympic gold medal at Tokyo 2020.