2018 Asian Games weightlifting gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz is continuing to succeed outside of sports as she takes a break before preparing to compete in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
The 27-year-old weightlifter has received much applause since her gold medal finish in the women’s 53-kg weightlifting event. She was recently promoted to sergeant from her previous position of airwoman first class following a special order from the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
She also received a plaque of recognition for extraordinary and distinguished achievement and an Outstanding Achievement Medal with First Bronze Anahaw Leaf from the government for honoring the country with her victory in Indonesia.
She and fellow airforce weightlifters Jeffry Garcia and Nestor Colonia were also welcomed with a hero’s motorcade in Villamor Airbase.
Diaz’ victory has been one of the highlights of the Filipino delegation in Indonesia.
Why I am a happy sports fan:
1) A legit NBA talent in @JordanClarksons is finally playing for ???
2) Stan The Man Pringle is hard to guard (Bars!)
3) Our women’s volleyball team has vastly improved (Pleumjit said so herself!)
4) Gold for Hidilyn Diaz and Bronze for @pauweenie
— James Velasquez (@_jamesvelasquez) August 21, 2018
Gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz talks about her beginnings in weightlifting and her wish for her to see the next generation of Filipino athletes to shine and become the inspiration for future generations.
— Theia Sports (@TheiaSports) August 28, 2018
Since becoming a household name after winning the silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics, Diaz has also opened a weightlifting gym in her home province of Zamboanga and enrolled in the College of Saint Benilde to pursue a business degree.
Diaz said that she would invest her cash prizes in her goal of helping aspiring weightlifters as well as target another Olympic stint in 2020.
Though she is aiming for another stint in the next Olympics, she said that the competition will be her last before she retires.
Diaz has been training since the age of eleven and she said in a recent interview that she is not promising another Olympic medal, knowing how difficult international competition can be.
“There are a lot of sacrifices. I know because I’ve won the silver in the Olympics,” said Diaz, who previously revealed that her routine leading up to the Asiad consisted of a strict sugar-free diet and intense daily training with her coach.
“It’s really difficult with all the preparation. To me, this Asian Games is like the Olympics,” added Diaz.
Four other Filipinos have since also struck gold in the Asiad: Pauline Lopez (taekwondo), Lois Kaye Go, Bianca Pagdanganan and Yuka Saso (team golf and individual golf for Saso) and most recently Margielyn Didal (skateboarding).