It's the human and fun side of our sports heroes

Diaz gears up for World Championships in Turkmenistan


Hidilyn Diaz will have practically have only four days of rest before she buckles down to work for her next tour of duty—the World Championships in Turkmenistan in November.

But starting with the world championships, Diaz will be going up in weight from -53 kgs that won her gold in these 18th Asian Games to -55 kgs, a division she said would be her comfort zone.

“The -55 kgs is not actually a choice, but it’s my targeted weight for the gold in Tokyo [2020 Olympics]. It’s a new category in the IWF [International Weightlifting Federation],” she said.

“I feel more comfortable with -55 kgs, it’s less tiring,” she said. “My opponents in that class are strong, but I would stand my ground.”

“In these Asian Games, I was confident of the gold in the -53 kgs, and thank God I got my wish,” she said. “But I have gotten tired in the division.”

Diaz lifted 207 kgs in winning the gold on Tuesday night, beating Turkmenistan’s Kristina Shermetova by a kilo and Thailand’s Khambao Surodchana by 6 kilos.

Diaz said Tokyo 2020 could probably her last competition.

“I’m 27 years old now and I have been a national athlete for 14 years. In other words, I am no longer young and I am now one of the veterans,” said Diaz, a scholar of Business Management courtesy of College of St. Benilde.

She was innocent looking when she was thrusted into the Olympics in Beijing 2008, and was already experienced but still unripe for a medal in London 2012. It was in Rio de Janeiro two years ago when her star shone.

In those years as a national athlete, Diaz said has reaped an Olympic silver and Asian Games gold—medals that she feels are quite enough to inspire young athletes to work hard in their respective sport, not only weightlifting.

“I can see young athletes who have the potential specially in weightlifting. Like myself, they need a program, a personal program like what I have undergone,” she said.

If Diaz indeed retires after Tokyo 2020—she would be 29 by then—the pride of Zamboanga City, who as a child used to fetch water in pails back home, wanted to have a business of her own—with marriage plans in mind.

“If I retire? Of course, I want to get married,” she said with a naughty smile. “But I want to set up my own business—a restaurant perhaps, investment in the stock market, or go into the rental industry.”

For her Olympics silver in Rio, Diaz became an instant millionaire with more than PHP7 million in incentives and bonuses from government and the private sector and also got a key to a brand new house and lot.

The Asian Games gold meant another guaranteed PHP6 million for Diaz — PHP2 million from the government through Republic Act 10699, PHP2 million from the Philippine Olympic Committee, PHP1 million from the Siklab Pilipinas Sports Foundation,and another P1 million from Philippine ambassador to Indonesia Lee Hiong Wee. (PSC Media Pool)