Filipino weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz appears to be the most excited among the 19 Filipino athletes that will see action in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics set to start this Friday, July 23 in Japan.
Upon her arrival at the Athletes Village, Diaz quickly made herself busy reuniting with friends and fellow athletes from Team Philippines like weightlifting teammate Elreen Ann Ando, gymnast Caloy Yulo and boxer Eumir Marcial.
“Yes na-miss ko sila talaga. Gusto ko silang kausapin ng matagal,” Diaz told the Manila Bulletin in a message exchange Monday, July 19 as she posted several photos on her social media accounts.
The 30-year-old Diaz arrived in Japan with her ‘Team HD’ which includes Chinese head coach Kaiwen Gao, as well as strength and conditioning coach Julius Naranjo after more than a year of training in Malaysia.
Diaz is one of the country’s best hopes to finally win the elusive gold medal following her silver medal finish in the 2016 Rio Olympics. She will be competing in the 55-kilogram women’s category on July 26.
A native of Zamboanga City, Diaz considers China as her toughest opponent for the gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics, but considers Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Japan as other medal prospects.
This will be Diaz’s fourth straight stint in the Olympics – making her the most experienced athlete in the national team contingent since the 18 other Filipinos are first timers in the Summer Games.