Olympics: Taiwan's Hsu Shu-ching delivers golden Father's Day gift

Tawain's Hsu Shu-Ching competes in the women's 53kg weightlifting event at the Rio 2016 Olympics

Story highlights

  • Hsu Shu-ching won Taiwan's first gold of the Rio games
  • She previously broke the world record for female weightlifting

Hong Kong (CNN)Monday was Father's Day in Taiwan, and Hsu Yung-ming's daughter gave him the best present he could ask for: an Olympic gold medal.

Hsu Shu-ching became the first athlete from Taiwan to win gold at the Rio Olympics on Sunday. The 25-year-old weightlifter placed first by lifting a total of 212 kilograms in the women's 53 kilogram group. She lifted 100 kilograms in the snatch and 112 kilograms in the clean and jerk.
    Her victory was watched by her family and friends in their hometown of Lunbei, a rural area in central Taiwan. Even local politicians came out to support Hsu.
    "More than 20 friends and family came to our house and wore t-shirts bearing her image and we all watched her win," her father told CNN.
    "Most of us, also my wife and I, jumped and screamed when we knew our daughter won the gold medal."
    Hsu Shu-ching (middle) holds her gold medal alongside silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz of the Philippines and bronze medalist Jin Hee Yoon of South Korea.

    Golden prize

    For her achievement, Hsu Shu-ching will be awarded more than $952,000 in prize money from Taiwan's Ministry of Education and its Olympic Committee, according to Taiwan's official Central News Agency (CNA).
    Hsu Yung-ming said the family is not well off. He and his wife used to make their living by sending produce to local wet markets. But they were forced to quit four years ago after he underwent surgery.
    "Both of us are no longer able to work so the prize money will really help us," he said.
    Hsu Shu-ching also plans to donate a portion of her winnings to her high school, according to CNA. Her father said she used to play basketball at the school, and only began weightlifting at the age of 13 after the school basketball team was disbanded.
    Her parents objected to the decision at first, but not for long.
    "We worried that lifting such heavy weights would stop her from growing taller and might cause her injuries," Hsu said. "Seeing her devotion to the sport, we couldn't help but support her."

    Record breaker

    As she began taking weightlifting more seriously, Hsu Shu-ching moved from her hometown to Kaohsiung city in southern Taiwan, where her grandparents also lived.
    "We missed her a lot," Hsu said, adding that he and his wife visited her whenever they could.
    After years of training at the National Sports Training Center, Hsu Shu-ching won a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics and a gold at the 2014 Asian Games, where she also set a new world record, lifting a total of 233 kilograms.
    On Monday, Taiwanese President Tsai Ying-wen congratulated Hsu Shu-ching on Facebook, calling on all Taiwanese to "show their support for Hsu and other Taiwan athletes."
    Hsu said he was "delighted" to hear the words of encouragement from the President for his daughter.
    Although China considers Taiwan part of its territory, the island has its own political and financial system and its own military. Taiwan -- officially the Republic of China -- has not been permitted to compete under its own name or flag in the Olympics since 1971. Instead it participates as "Chinese Taipei," a compromise that is increasingly controversial among younger Taiwanese.
    Hsu said he asked his daughter what she wanted to do to after her record-setting victory at the Asian Games -- settle down and start a family, or continue to train. She chose the latter.
    "Although we know the training is really tough, we will always support her and never ask her to back down," he said.