No let up for Diaz in KL training camp

Published February 17, 2021, 4:29 PM

by Waylon Galvez

MB File Photo

Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz knows the expectations for another magnificent performance in the Tokyo Olympics where she is among the favorites to win a medal.

Millions of Filipinos hope that she gives the country its first gold medal in the Games.

While she acknowledges that these expectations are all based on world ranking and records the past four years, Diaz said she still has to compete and deliver when the time comes.

“Based on records and ranking, I’ll win a medal again,” said Diaz in Filipino in a message exchange Wednesday with Manila Bulletin.

“But as an athlete I don’t want to talk or to assume that I’ll win in the Tokyo Olympics. Well, until I’m holding a medal. As an athlete, it’s always based on our performance and results.”

Last week, Nonong Araneta – the Chef de Mission of the Philippine Team in the Tokyo Olympics – said that Diaz is among the world ranked Filipino athletes he expects to win a medal in Japan.

After she won silver in Brazil in 2016, Diaz continued to add on her resume as she captured gold medals in the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, 2019 Southeast Asian Games here, and 2020 World Cup in Rome.

She also won a bronze medal in the 2019 World Championship in Thailand.

During the 2016 Rio Olympics, Diaz competed in the 53kg category, but she has since moved up in the 55kg division in 2019 and is currently No. 5 spot in the world ranking behind four Chinese lifters. However, only one of them will earn spot in the Tokyo Olympics.

Diaz needs to join just one Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) via the Asian Championship in April to complete the requirement and claim her fourth straight stint in the Games.

“As an athlete I will do my best in training and competition together with my TeamHD and I’ll surrender everything to God including he result,” said Diaz, who is in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

It has been almost a year since Diaz, together with Chinese mentor Kaiwen Gao, strength and conditioning coach Julius Naranjo, and therapist Belen Banas left for KL for a training camp in preparation for the Asian Championship.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the tournament organizers as well as other events to call off the competition. Diaz opted to continue training in KL with the support of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the backing of the MVP Sports Foundation (MVPSF).