Looks like the observation that Filipinos are quick to forget is proving true once more. Just a year after Hidilyn Diaz made history and won the Philippines’ first-ever Olympic gold medal, the country’s top weightlifter is being bashed — again — for lamenting a lack of funding for her training.
The elite athlete has begun training for her bid in the 2024 Paris Olympics, where she is set to represent the Philippines again and vie for another gold in the women’s 59kg event.
Despite her historic win, Hidilyn spoke candidly at a media roundtable last week about struggling to fund her training for her next Olympic bid, as she needs to be able to pay for her coaches and her nutrition program.
Diaz said the struggle stemmed from the skewed thinking that, as a gold medalist who has already received various financial awards and sponsorships, she should already be able to pay for her own training.
“Others think, ‘You already won the gold. Use your winnings to fund yourself. But of course how would you be able to save up for yourself, after your career, how will it go? It’s not sustainable if I use my winnings to fund [my training],” the athlete said in Filipino.
While most of the comments on Facebook posts about Hidilyn’s funding woes were sympathetic to the sports heroes, there was also a significant number of negative comments arguing she had already been given enough, with some even arguing that she should have donated part of her winnings.
“It’s about time you fund yourself, after all you u already have more than enough. Other athletes need support too,” one said.
“You have so many demands, you didn’t even give away part of what you received…. What an attention seeker!!!” another said.
One particularly incendiary tweet from a supporter of former president Rodrigo Duterte told Diaz “if you have no more funds, stop!” and argued that she should just be grateful for the support she received from the Duterte administration instead of asking for more help.
That blogger’s Twitter account has since gone into protected mode, but a screenshot of the tweet got shared by actor Bart Guingona, who blasted it by writing: “They accuse [former Vice President Leni Robredo] of being unpatriotic for telling the truth at Harvard about the Marcoses and disinformation. They attack Hidilyn for complaining about the lack of government support. What kind of idiots has our nation spawned?”
Similar sentiments were shared in the Philippines subreddit in a post asking “Is this how we will treat Hidilyn Diaz again? The first Filipino to won the Olympic Gold medal for the country is now being bashed again for asking for proper funding for her training.” The thread pointed toward a Facebook post filled with vitriol against the Filipina champ.
In the thread, many Redditors criticized the concept of “Pinoy pride” when it’s used by Filipinos who celebrate the successes of the country’s best while also ignoring their struggles.
“These are the same people who scream ‘Pinoy Pride!’ as if they contributed anything to Hidilyn’s success,” one wrote.
“This is why I hate Pinoy pride. They’re all piggybackers,” read another comment.
“Hidilyn can’t work, can’t do housework, and can’t even have a kid while training so you either pay for her time or not. Let’s admit our sports program is full of cheapskates,” one Redditor argued.
“A lot of us don’t realize how expensive it is to be an athlete. It’s the ignorant ones who are noisy and opinionated. I wish some of them try even to be a gym hobbyist so they realize how taking care of one’s body can drain funds,” another wrote.
Some even said Diaz should consider competing for another country.
“She should represent another country, like what Wesley So did,” one user said, referring to the Filipino chess grandmaster who got US citizenship after the Philippines’ sports program frustrated him. “She doesn’t deserve this treatment.”
Prior to Diaz’s Olympic win in Tokyo, the athlete attracted controversy in 2019 for writing a heartfelt post asking if it was okay to ask for funding from the private sector as she faced financial struggles ahead of the 2020 Olympics.