Despite the current issues surrounding her beloved sport, Tokyo Olympics gold winner Hidilyn Diaz strongly believes that weightlifting will not be removed in the next edition in Paris.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently bestowed itself more power to cut sports in the Games program, with weightlifting and boxing facing the highest risk of getting dropped in 2024 Paris due to doping and leadership controversies.
Governance issues and financial corruption reportedly plagued the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) while doping scandals have been a problem in the sport for a long time.
Weightlifting is still included in Paris but that decision may change, IWF official Sam Coffa told Reuters.
Diaz though is confident that weightlifting–which was part of the first Modern Games in 1896 and has been in the program in all but three editions–will remain as long as reforms are made.
“Ang alam ko, matutuloy ‘yan. May weightlifting pa rin sa 2024. Imposibleng wala,” Diaz said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday, August 10.
“May mga reform lang na kailangang gawin ang IWF,” added the Tokyo Olympics gold medalist.
The 30-year-old Zamboangueña shared that they regularly undergo doping tests even if they are not competing, saying: “We should stay clean and say no to doping.”
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Butch Ramirez echoed Diaz’s sentiments, stressing that the IOC may intervene if changes are not made in IWF.
“One of the fundamental duties of the IOC is governance. They oversee the international sports federations,” said Ramirez, who pointed out the governing body’s decision to drop the International Boxing Association (AIBA) and allow the Olympic Boxing Task Force (BTF) to organize the sport in Tokyo.
While she is optimistic of the status of weightlifting three years from now in the French capital, Diaz has yet to see if she could still compete by that time.
“Titignan ko pa rin kung hanggang saan ‘yung kaya ng katawan ko, saan kaya ng coaches na magsakripisyo din,” she said. “Ia-assess ko muna po kung kaya pa. Kaya naman, pero ‘yun nga, may sacrifices po eh.”