Rio Olympics Silver Medalist Hidilyn Diaz is SPIN.ph's Sportsman of the Year 2016

IMAGE Courtesy of SPIN.ph

(L-R) Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone; former PSC Commissioner Jolly Gomez; DLSU Men's Basketball coach Aldin Ayo; 2016 Rio Olympics Silver Medalist Hidilyn Diaz; 2016 Rio Paralympics Bronze Medalist Josephine Medina; and ONE Championship Lightweight Division champ Eduard Folayang.


Hidilyn Diaz, 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist, is hailed 2016 Sportsman of the Year by SPIN.ph (Sports Interactive Network), the largest sports news site in the country.

Read: Here are the winners of SPIN's Sportsman of the Year award

Hidilyn ended the Philippines' Olympic medal drought, bagging a silver medal at the women’s 53-kg category in weightlifting, at the Rio Olympics last August 2016. 

The 25-year-old lass from Zamboanga City became the first Filipina to win a medal at the Olympic games and the first non-boxer athlete since 1936. 

She is also the first woman and non-basketball related athlete hailed as SPIN's Sportsman of the Year.

Hidilyn joins the ranks of Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes (2013), former Gilas captain Jimmy Alapag (2014), and Alaska star player Calvin Abueva (2015).

Hidilyn used her acceptance speech to thank SPIN's editorial team, led by Editor-in-Chief Eduardo "Dodo" Catacutan, for the recognition, and her Creator for using her as an inspiration for up-and-coming Filipino athletes.

She said, "Nagpapasalamat ako kay God kasi kung hindi dahil sa guidance niya, hindi ako makakapunta doon, hindi ko makukuha ang Silver medal.

"Then, through winning a silver medal, siguro yun yung way na ginamit ako ni God para mag-inspire ng mga new athletes.

"Para mag-engage sila sa sports and especially sa weightlifting. Salamat po."


In a separate interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), Hidilyn also thanked SPIN.ph's in-house photographer Jerome Ascano for breaking the news in the Philippines and for taking a great photo of her big win.

Hidilyn said, "Masaya, siyempre na-recognize ng SPIN.

"'Tapos yung SPIN kasi yung unang nakaalam na nanalo ako.

"'Tapos may picture pa na si Kuya Jerome yung nag-photo sa akin."

The 25-year-old Pinay weightlifter has been given awards left and right since she came back from the Olympics.

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Of the SPIN award, she said, "Sa sobrang dami ng award, siyempre iba-iba yung meaning ng award. 

"Itong sa SPIN, siyempre maganda yung naging meaning sa akin, kasi isa sa mga naging kakilala ko e miyembro ng SPIN.

"'Tapos yung recognition ng SPIN, siyempre digital.

"Nakita ko naman na 80 million [readers] ng SPIN, na-recognize yung paghihirap ko, yung pagpapanalo ko sa Rio Olympics.

"So, nagpapasalamat talaga ako."

Meanwhile, PEP also asked Hidilyn if she has already received her government incentives for winning a medal at the Olympic games.

Silver medalists receive P5 million in cash, and will also receive scholarship and retirement benefits equivalent to 25 percent of all winnings throughout a career.

Hidilyn reported, "Lahat nakuha ko na, binili ko na ng lupa para dun sa amin.

"'Tapos magpapadala ulit ako ng pera para magpa-design ulit ng gym. 

"Kasi yung first design ng gym, masyadong malaki, so hindi ko kaya yung ganun, so sabi ko bawasan ko."

Hidilyn had promised to use some of her winnings for the building of a gym in her province to train future athletes.

Currently, Hidilyn is busy training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but she also hopes to make time to raise awareness throughout the country for the sport of weightlifting.

She said, "Hopefully, this year, ma-push through ko yung advocacy ko na matayo ko yung gym, makilala yung weightlifting sa whole [country]. 

"Sana sa lahat ng region ng Pilipinas meron tayong weightlifting, yun yung pangarap ko."

OTHER SPIN AWARDEES. Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone was also in attendance to receive the award for Sportsmen Who Take The Lead.

He was accompanied by his wife Cristina Viaplana.


After the ceremony, Hidilyn took the chance to have a photo with Coach Tim.

Josephine Medina was the winner of the bronze medal in Women's Table Tennis, Singles, Class 8 division, at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, and received the award for Sportsmen Who Defy The Odds. 

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SPIN.ph's Photographer Jerome Ascaño presented the award.


Former Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Commissioner Jolly Gomez received the award for Sportsmen Who Care.


De La Salle University Men's Basketball coach Aldin Ayo took home the award for Sportsmen Who Make It Happen.


ONE Championship Lightweight Division champ Eduard Folayang was hailed Sportsmen Who Personify the Filipino Fighting Spirit.


Other awardees were: Filipino Chess Grandmaster Janelle Mae Frayna who was cited as Sportsmen Who Excel Academically; San Miguel Beermen Players for Sportsmen Who Succeed as One; volleyball player Jaja Santiago for Sportsmen Who Change The Game; and San Miguel Beermen player June Mar Fajardo for the Reader's Choice Award.


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