Hidilyn Diaz prays for the success of fellow PH athletes

Published August 1, 2021, 10:27 PM

by Waylon Galvez

Photo from AFP

Hidilyn Diaz is already in the country since Wednesday, but she remains glued to the television and has regularly been updating on social media on the developments with regards to the campaign of Team Philippines in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Japan.

Diaz, the first gold medal winner of the country in the Olympics after winning the 55-kilogram category in women’s weightlifting last week, is optimistic that others would follow her achievement.

“Nawalan na ako ng boses sa kaka-cheer,” Diaz told Manila Bulletin in a message exchange Sunday, Aug. 1 from Sofitel in Pasay City where she and her ‘Team HD’ is finishing a seven-day quarantine period that is part of the government’s COVID-19 protocol for returning individuals from other countries.

“Ang galing ni Nesthy (Petecio), si EJ (ObIena), si Eumir (Marcial), pati si Carlo (Paalam). Tiwala ako sa kanila na madagdagan pa yan (gold medals). Tiwala lang saka prayers talaga.”

Petecio booked a place in the final round when she downed Irma Testa of Italy during their women’s featherweight bout last Saturday. The 29-year-old aims for the gold medal when she meets hometown bet Sena Irie on Tuesday, Aug. 3 at the Kokugikan Arena.

On the other hand, Marcial, who – like Diaz – hails from Zamboanga City, has advanced to the semifinal round after beating Arman Darchinyan of Armenia with a knockout victory in their quarterfinal match in the men’s middleweight division Sunday.

Marcial, already assured of a podium finish, will next fight Ukrainian fighter Oleksandr Khyzhniak, a 4-1 winner against Dominican Republic’s Euri Cedeno Martinez in their quarterfinal match.

Their bout is set Thursday.

Paalam, meanwhile, tries to qualify in the semifinal round of the flyweight category when he tests the mettle of Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan in their quarters’ bout on Tuesday.

Still in the hunt for a podium finish are five other Filipino athletes, including gymnast Caloy Yulo, pole vaulter Obiena, runner Kristina Knott, and golfers Bianca Pagdanganan and Yuka Saso.

Yulo is in the finals of the vault event in gymnastics, Knott will compete in the 200-meter run, Obiena is a finalist in pole vault, while Saso – the defending US Women’s Open champion – and Pagdanganan will see action in women’s golf on Aug. 4-7 at the Kasumigaseki Country Club in Saitama.