Hidilyn Diaz described the successful defense of the Southeast Asian Games crown as the launching pad of her quest to pull off another golden moment in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Diaz overcame the challenge of Thailand’s Tanasan Sanikun to capture the gold in the women’s 55kg weightlifting event that will serve as an early momentum-builder for the Paris Games.
“My journey to Paris starts here, so this SEA Games gold is very important to me,” the Tokyo Olympics 2020 winner said, as quoted in a pool story sent to media outlets back home.
“Napaka-meaningful nito (SEA Games). After winning the gold medal (in Tokyo), bumalik pa din ako, nakapag-deliver ng gold medal for the Philippines. Masaya ako na nandito ako ulit ako sa SEA Games, na i-represent ang Pilipinas,” she added.
The 31-year-old admitted that her SEAG build-up was not as ideal as she would have wanted to, but was glad to be in the best shape possible.
She and Team HD also spent time studying the Thai rival, gold medalist in the 48kg in the 2016 Rio Olympics and once prevailed over Diaz in the 53kg category of the 2017 World Championships in Anaheim, California.
Tanasan registered 93kgs in snatch compared to Diaz’s 92, but a failed attempt at 114kgs on her third and final attempt in clean and jerk allowed the Filipina to secure the gold.
“We studied our opponent, we know she’s strong in the snatch, but not so much in the clean and jerk. But of course, we cannot downplay the competition. I always do my best,” said Diaz.
“I was able to drop my weight from 61 to 55, that is why I’m so grateful to Team HD that I was able to reach this performance again,” she added.