In the previous editions of the Olympics, the Philippines would pin its hopes on boxing as a source of medal, and twice in the history of the Games, Filipino pugilists delivered with a podium finish.
First one came from the late Anthony Villanueva as he earned a silver medal in the featherweight division during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Thirty-two years later, Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco would match the feat with his own silver medal finish in the light flyweight category during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
This year, the national team has four boxers and at least two of them have legitimate shots of winning a medal – possibly even the elusive gold medal for the Philippines in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
However, what makes this edition of the Summer Games different from the past editions is that the country has other athletes capable of delivering not just a medal but the gold medal – and on top of that list is Hidiliyn Diaz.
As the first Filipina to win a silver medal in the Rio Olympics in Brazil back in 2016, it is on the broad shoulder of the veteran weightlifter that the country is betting to finally seal the deal.
While nothing has ever been predicted when it comes to her fourth straight campaign in the tournament except that she is eyeing a podium finish, Diaz surely has what it takes to rule the women’s -55 kilogram bracket when action begins in the Tokyo Olympics.
The 30-year-old native of Zamboanga City has been truthful about the sacrifices preparing for the Olympics.
In documentary entitled “Let’s Go HD!” to be shown starting Thursday, July 1 on Kick-Start Coffee Brewed Awakening Facebook page, the four-part series will show the journey of Diaz in a “video diary” – a natural, free flowing and heartfelt videos where she will be showing glimpse of her training in Malaysia, the struggles, the highs and lows of being an elite athlete.
“It’s my way to connect with the fans and audience, and letting them know the people behind me, and how’s my preparation towards the Olympics,” said Diaz.
“It’s like letting them know the story behind papuntang Olympics. Ang gusto ko na ma-achieve is to connect with the fans, mas magkaroon sila ng awareness about the the preparation ng isang atleta towards the Olympics.”
“Kasi malaking bagay din yun para sa aming mga athletes na maraming tao ang nakaka-intindi kung gaano kahirapang ang preparation towards the Olympics,” said Diaz, whose first Olympic stint was in 2008 as a wild card entry in Beijing, China.
Kick-Start Coffee founder Mike Asuncion said that having this documentary would allow Filipinos to understand and appreciate athletes like Diaz, who spend countless hours in training in hopes to represent the country well in various international competitions.
The biggest of which is coming July 23 to August 8 when the best athletes in the world showcase their talent in the Tokyo Olympics.
“Kick-Start Coffee is thrilled to support Hidilyn Diaz on her journey to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Through our documentary series, we want the world to see her talent, hard work and motivations that will fuel her to victory,” said Asuncion.
“The story of Hidilyn Diaz is an inspiration for all Filipinos working hard to achieve their hopes and dreams. We’re proud to be the ‘coffee fuel’ to tell her story to everyone. We are collaborating for something new in this series as the first of its kind as we rise-up to the challenges of creating everything remotely online,” added Asuncion.
In the documentary, Diaz said that she would feature the importance of support from almost everybody, like from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), her own “Team HD” as well as the private sector.
She said that all the support she’s been getting has been crucial in her drive to get the best result possible in the Tokyo Olympics.
“It takes a village sabi nga ni EJ (Obiena of pole vault). Sa akin naman, there are people behind me, there are sponsors and private companies and the PSC all helping me. Hindi ko ito kaya na mag-isa.”
“I hope na mas marami pang maka-intindi na kayang kaya nating manalo sa Olympics, kaya nating mag-represent sa Pilipinas, manalo sa Olympics kahit anong medalya kaya natin.”
“But we need the support and for me it’s a good way to let the viewers know na hindi naging madali ang preparasyon. Importante itong ‘dokyu’ kasi maganda ito na may babalikan ako after my Olympic career,” she said.
Diaz said that having this documentary is also her way to inspire young athletes to continue dreaming, inspire fellow national team members even from other sports to keep on fighting for flag and country, and to inspire the Filipino people to stay positive during these trying times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I hope I inspire a lot of Filipino people. We hope to increase the awareness sa pagiging elite athlete. importante na napapakinggan, naririnig at napapanood kung ano yung side naming mga atleta lalo sa elite athlete,” she said.
“I’m also hoping na kaming mga atleta na lalaro sa Olympics ay magbibigay ng pagasa sa bawat Pilipino, at magpakita ng fire sa puso na kahit nasa pandemic tayo, lumalaban tayong mga Pilipino,” Diaz added.
After the Episode 1 on July 1 at 8 p.m., the documentary will be shown every Thursday, Episodes 2 on July 8, Episode 3 on July 15, and Episode 4 on July 22 as Kick-Start Coffee will be the “digital cheerer” of Diaz in her quest for the gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics.