Filipino weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz gave a shoutout to Malaysia after winning a gold medal in the women's 55kg category at the 2020 Olympic Games.

The 30-year-old lifted a total of 224kg to finish ahead China's Liao Qiuyin and Kazakhstan's Zulfiya Chinshanlo, setting a new Olympic record at the same time.

It was also the Philippines' first-ever gold medal in Summer Olympics history.

The achievement almost did not come about though, as she encountered difficult times ahead of Tokyo 2020.

Diaz and her team were stranded in Malaysia last year due to a movement control order imposed by the Malaysian government to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thankfully, she received help from a Malaysian weightlifting community in Jasin, Melaka, allowing her to continue her training in preparation for the Olympics.

"My journey to Tokyo 2020 was really hard. I'm really thankful to God for sending me to Malaysia to train well.

"He sent me a lot of people like weightlifting and Filipino communities in Malaysia, who helped me a lot in my journey.

"I'm thankful to the people in Jasin, Melaka, who gave me a home and a gym when I had the anxiety of not knowing where to go. I may not be home, but I feel at home in Malaysia.

"To all my friends in Melaka and all the people in Malaysia who helped us, thank you so much for helping us. I wouldn't survive or win this gold medal without you.

"Terima kasih, Malaysia boleh," she said during a press conference.

Diaz also said that she looked forward to going back to Melaka to continue her training.

"I will go back to Melaka. For me, I still need to continue training to maintain my status. [In my sport] we can never be the champion forever and still need to train and work hard.

"I think Melaka is the best place for me where I could focus and still do my training during this pandemic," she added.