Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao has extended support to weightlifting icon Hidilyn Diaz after the latter secured her spot to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics recently.
“Mabuhay ka Hidilyn Diaz! Dahil sa iyo, nabuhay muli ang pangarap ng ating bansa na makasungkit ng unang gintong medalya sa Olympics (Long live, Hidilyn Diaz! Because of you, the country’s hopes for its first Olympic gold medal is alive),” wrote the 42-year-old Pacquiao on Twitter. “Ako, kasama ng buong bansa ay sumusuporta at nananalangin sa iyong tagumpay (The country and I are one to support you and pray for your success).
Diaz, the 2016 Rio Games silver medalist and now a four-time Olympian, finished fourth overall in the women’s 55kg category in the Asian Weightlifting Championship Sunday in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Although missing a podium finish, Diaz managed to complete the six Olympic Qualifying Tournament participation to formalize her entry to the Tokyo Games.
The 30-year-old Diaz is the seventh Filipino to barge into the Olympics, joining the likes of boxers Eumir Felix Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio, and Carlos Paalam, world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo, and pole vaulter EJ Obiena.
It would be recalled that Diaz has received a cash incentive, with an undisclosed amount, from Pacquiao after a successful stint in Brazil almost five years ago.
Overall, Diaz has received a total of P7.5 million worth of incentives back then.
Training will resume for Diaz in Malaysia as she aims for the coveted first gold medal for the Philippines.