The Philippines tops worldwide in different aspects of life. From the ray of beauty pageants, melodic showcase of voices and dancing prowess to sports. Filipinos are being dredge up for the honor and pride they determinedly convey to their country.

One of them is Hidilyn Diaz, a 25 year-old Filipina who bagged Silver Medal in women’s 53kg weightlifting category in Rio Olympics 2016. Filipinos famed her triumph as the first Filipino woman Olympic medalist. With this pride she brought the country, she was given honors as First Class Airwoman of the Philippine Air Force.

But before she got her moment in a superstardom, she was just a small town girl full of aspirations. Born on February 20, 1991 in a small village of Zamboanga City, her childhood was just as interesting as every other child; however, she was not excused from the challenges in life.

In a short, conversation with her at the Villa Maria Luisa Hotel, Tandag City, where she was accommodated to grace the opening of the 20th Caraga Regional Athletic Meet (CRAM), she expressed that all she ever wanted was her parent’s attention and love to get through struggles. Growing up, however, she noticed that her parents played favorites among them. She would always be asked to do household chores even though she had an older sibling who could occasionally handled them.

With CRAM Media and Publicity Committee, she continued that despite the difficulties, she braved her way towards her biggest dreams and made poverty as her greatest motivation to shine in her passion. Inspired by her cousin, Hidilyn utilized homemade barbells made of pipes and concrete weights for her trainings. As she began to complete and succeed in weightlifting, a number of sponsors flocked to donate barbells and costumes. Her sport did not only give her credit and respect but also significantly helped her financially, helping her finish her studies.

Hidilyn’s presence in the CRAM 2017 kick off ceremony led the Caraga Athletes to a realization that the way to success comes through hardwork, determination and sacrifice. For this celebrated weightlifter, all it takes is a lift of faith.  (Liza Guingguing-DepEd/PIA-Surigao del Sur)