Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz banners the Filipino contingent that is set to see action in the International Weightlifting Federation World Championships in Bogota, Colombia on Tuesday, Dec. 6 (Manila time).
With the tournament serving as the first qualification event for the 2024 Paris Olympics, Diaz begins her bid for her first world title – the only medal missing from her collection of accolades – in the women’s 55kg category set on Wednesday, Dec. 7.
Joining the golden girl are fellow Rio de Janeiro Olympian Nestor Colonia in the men’s 55kg category, John Ceniza in the 61kg event and Dave Lloyd Pacaldo in the 6 kg class.
On the distaff side, Diaz will be joined by Asian champion Vanessa Sarno and Kristel Macrohon who will be competing in the 71 kg event while Rosegie Ramos and Lovely Inan will fly the country’s colors in the 49kg category and Elreen Ann Ando in the 59kg class.
Having won the gold medal in a dramatic and record-breaking fashion in the Tokyo Games, Diaz, who is seeded second, remains the favorite to win the title although a strong field led by top seed and home crowd bet Rosalba Morales could pose a tough challenge against the Filipina champion.
Diaz arrived in Bogota with his Team HD, composed of husband Julius Naranjo, nutritionist Jeneath Aro and assistant coach Rowell Garcia, after spending the past months in her training camp in Suwanee, Georgia.
Meanwhile, Ando, a fellow Tokyo Olympian of Diaz, hopes to shock the rest of her field coming in as the eight seed in her category while Sarno and Macrohon look to do the same as the 12th and 14th seed, respectively, in their own class.