Hidilyn Diaz is 2021 PSA Athlete of the Year

Hidilyn Diaz is PSA’s Athlete of the Year (Vincenzo Pinto/AFP via Getty Images)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Philippines’ first-ever Olympic gold medalist received another career milestone after being hailed as the 2021 Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Athlete of the Year.

Hidilyn Diaz’s accomplishments will once again be recognized as she took the whole sports world by storm after winning the gold medal during Tokyo Olympics’ Women’s Weightlifting event, 55-kg category.

Diaz’s historical milestone was also made sweeter after edging two of the best weightlifters in the world, Liao Qiuyun of China and Zulfiya Chinshanlo of Kazakhastan.

“Hidilyn Diaz winning the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal was definitely the highpoint of what had been a truly memorable year for Philippine sports. The PSA was unanimous in its choice of Hidilyn as our Athlete of the Year for 2021,” said PSA president Rey C. Lachica.

It was a unanimous decision vote for the PSA committee to hail Diaz as their Athlete of the Year despite stellar outings from Carlo Paalam, Nesthy Petecio, and Eumir Marcial, the PH’s boxing team who also nabbed two silver medals and a bronze in Tokyo, respectively.

This will not be the first time Diaz will be receiving the prestigious award as she first won it last 2016 and recorded her second PSA recognition two years after.

Currently, the country’s best weightlifter is making all the necessary preparations as she is set to defend her title in the 2022 Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam and will also seek to win another gold medal in the 2022 Asian Games.

The 2021 PSA Athlete of the Year awards night is supported by MILO, 1Pacman, Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Rain or Shine, ICTSI, Chooks To Go, Smart, Philippine Racing Commission (Philracom), and the MVP Sports Foundation (MVPSF).