by Waylon Galvez
Olympian Hidilyn Diaz is looking forward to having a longer time to train in China and Taiwan as she prepares for this year’s World Championship in Pattaya, Thailand.
Diaz bared that she is still awaiting approval from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the government’s financing arm for the training of Filipino athletes for various international competitions.
“Hopefully ma-approve ng PSC (Hopefully it gets approval from the PSC),” said Diaz in an interview with The Manila Bulletin while training at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex gym in Vito Cruz, Manila.
“Napaka-importante nitong training na ‘to sa China and sa Taiwan kasi malapit na din yung World Championship, so sana ma-approve, sana matuloy (The training in China and Taiwan are very important because the World Championship is coming. Hopefully it gets approval so we can go,” added Diaz.
If plans push through, Diaz will be leaving June 24 for a two-month training in the province of Jilin, which is near the border of North Korea and Russia.
The 28-year-old Diaz will be accompanied in China by Chinese coach Kaiwen Gao, as well as strengthening and conditioning coach Julius Irvin Naranjo.
After China, Diaz will spend three weeks in Kaouskhing, Taiwan for another set of training, before she proceeds to the World Championship.
“I know the mechanics on how to qualify for the Olympics,” said Diaz. “Joining the World Championship is very crucial because this is also an Olympic qualifier. We are required to join six Olympic qualifiers aside of course from earning the needed points,” she added.
Diaz already had a two-month training in China from February to April prior to the 2019 Asian Championship in Ningbo, China where she won a silver medal.
The format for qualifying is now different for the 2020 Olympics. There are three levels in the qualifiers, with the world and continental meets like the Asian Championship labeled as gold with 1.1 points to be earned by athletes, while silver and bronze labels are worth 1.05 points and 1 point, respectively, although the International Weightlifting Federation has yet to finalize which tournaments are this even if the Olympic qualifying period is only up until April 2020.
Diaz and nine other weightlifters have already competed in two Olympic qualifiers, the 2018 World Weightlifting Championship in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan last November, and Asian Weightlifting. This year’s World Championship will be their third tournament.