Zambo welcomes Olympics 2016 heroes Diaz, Colonia PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 13 August 2016 12:04

By JASMINE MOHAMMADSALI

Amid the scorching sun, hundreds of Zamboangueños took to the streets yesterday afternoon to welcome home Olympian weightlifters Hidilyn Diaz and Nestor Colonia.

Both Olympians, who arrived from Davao City, were welcomed by Mayor Beng Climaco together with local officials at the tarmac of the Zamboanga International Airport, from where a motorcade ushered them to City Hall, passing through the main thoroughfares.

A welcome program followed in front of City Hall.

As City Hall’s siren sounded off, Diaz and Colonia arrived to the thundering cheers of students, fellow athletes, government employees, and residents who gathered at City Hall grounds for the hero’s welcome, honoring the Olympians.

Mayor Climaco delivered a brief message of support and thanksgiving for the honor both Diaz and Colonia has brought to the City.

In gratitude, the chief executive presented to Diaz a symbolic check for P500,000.00 as part of the local government’s incentive for her historic win.

After the program, the athletes with their families and friends immediately visited Fort Pilar before proceeding to barangay Mampang, Diaz’s home village.

Diaz made history when she clinched the second-place finish at the women’s weightlifting 53 kg competition at the 2016 Rio Olympics. In winning, Diaz broke the 20-year medal drought of the Philippines as well as became the first Filipina and Mindanaoan to have won an Olympic medal.

Meanwhile, Colonia made a valiant effort in the men’s weightlifting 56 kg, finishing 16th in a field of 19 participants.

Diaz was slated for a bronze medal after successfully lifting a combined 200 kg but shot to silver when China’s Li Yajun failed in her third and final attempt and scratched out of the contest.— Jasmine Mohammadsali