THE MVP Sports Foundation (MVPSF) expressed happiness and pride in seeing its efforts to help the country win its first Olympic gold medal bear fruit through the breakthrough performance of weightlifter Hidilyn F. Diaz.

One of a number of athletes being supported by the sports foundation, Ms. Diaz, 30, made history by becoming the first Filipino athlete to win a gold medal in the quadrennial meet by bagging the top prize in the women’s 55-kg weightlifting division on Monday.

MVPSF, PLDT and Smart President and Philippine Olympic Committee First Vice-President Alfredo “Al” S. Panlilio hailed the achievement of Ms. Diaz just as he underscored the need to continue to pursue excellence, including through sports.

“The MVPSF was born 10 years ago with its vision of winning our first Olympic gold medal. You did it. We at PLDT and Smart have always believed in the importance of sports in shaping individuals and communities for the better. Hidilyn embodied what puso (fighting heart) really means,” Mr. Panlilio said in a statement.

The MVPSF has supported Ms. Diaz’s training both financially and logistically in the last two years, and has helped her form a core team of experts to build a solid strategy in her fourth shot at the Olympics.

For her golden performance, the Zamboanga City native will receive P10-million from MVPSF on top of other rewards from the government and other private companies.

It is a support that Ms. Diaz fully recognizes and appreciates.

“Thank you so much to MVPSF, Sir MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan) and Sir Al. Thank you so much for the trust you have given me and Team HD. I would not have won the gold without your support,” said Ms. Diaz in a separate statement.

While the mission to win the Olympic gold has been accomplished, MVPSF still hopes the rest of Team Philippines, some also supported by the foundation, seeing action at the Tokyo Olympics will achieve success in their respective sports and be inspired by what Ms. Diaz has achieved.

Other MVPSF-supported athletes in the Olympics are golfer Bianca Pagdanganan, boxers Eumir Felix D. Marcial, Nesthy Petecio, Irish Magno, and Carlo Paalam, rower Cris Nievarez, skateboarder Margielyn Didal, weightlifter Elreen Ann Ando, gymnast Caloy Yulo, and taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo