Rio 2016: Hidilyn Diaz ends Philippine Olympic medal drought with weightlifting silver

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(CNN Philippines) — The Philippines has its first medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics after Hidilyn Diaz finished with a lift of 200kg at the women’s 53kg category in weightlifting on Monday.

Diaz’ silver medal is the country’s first since Onyok Velasco’s triumph at the 1996 games in Atlanta.

“Ginawa ko yung best para sa country," Diaz told CNN Philippines. "Yun lang talaga yung goal, tapos mag medal. Bronze lang talaga yung aim namin ng coach ko.”

Initially thought to be a two-horse race between Chinese-Taipei’s Hsu Shu-Ching and China’s Li Yajun, the rest of the field was seen to be competing for the bronze.

It looked that way after Hsu and Li took a commanding lead after the snatch portion of the competition with scores of 101kg and 100kg, respectively.

“Nadiscourage ako pero sabi ng coach ko na wala na kaming magagawa. Sa clean and jerk ako bumawi,” Diaz said.

Gold medalist, Shu-Ching Hsu of Chinese Taipei, silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz of the Philippines and bronze medalist Jin Hee Yoon of Korea celebrate on the podium after the Women's 53kg Group A weightlifting contest on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

While Latvia’s Rebeka Kohn led the rest of the pack with a score of 90kg.

In the clean and jerk portion, Diaz cleared 111kg on her first attempt, forcing Korea’s Yoon Jin Hee to successfully manage at least 111kg of her own.

Yoon scored 111kg on her third attempt, but the Filipina chalked up 112kg on her second attempt to secure at least a bronze medal for the country.

Related: 16 facts about Rio 2016 Olympic Games

The Chinese-Taipei national logged in 112kg on the scoreboard with her first lift, placing her in pole position to notch the gold.

China’s Li attempted to lift 123kg on her first attempt, but failed due to a hyperextended left elbow. The failure proved to be the pivotal moment of the competition as Li could not complete any of her attempts in the clean and jerk portion.

Li’s inability to successfully lift 123kg once pushed Diaz up the podium to a silver medal finish, while Korea’s Yoon ended up with the bronze.