Hidilyn Diaz didn’t let lack of government support get in the way of Asian Games gold

August 22, 2018 - 3:12 PM
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A silver medal in the Olympics and now a gold in the Asian Games. Hidilyn Diaz is unstoppable in her quest for glory. (Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos)

Hidilyn Diaz once again brought glory to her country after prevailing in the women’s 53-kg weightlifting event of the 2018 Asian Games to give the Philippines its first gold medal of the tournament.

Diaz continues to build on the legacy she established in the 2016 Olympics with this gold medal despite the difficulties she has faced as an athlete.

First gold for the Philippines

The 27-year old weightlifter from Mindanao registered a total of 207 kilograms after she clocked in 92 in the snatch portion and another 115 in the clean and jerk.

She narrowly edged Kristina Shermetova of Turkmenistan, who recorded 206 kilograms and Surodchana Khambao of Thailand, who registered 201.

Prior to Diaz’ gold, the Philippines had four bronze medals from the men’s and women’s poomsae teams, Agatha Wong in wushu and Pauline Lopez in taekwondo.

Diaz failed to qualify for the previous Asiad in 2014 but is once again being hailed for bringing glory to the Philippines.

Some of her fans continue to ask for comprehensive support from the government on her behalf apart from the monetary reward she is expected to receive.

Diaz in the months before the 2016 Olympics discussed the lack of government support she received while training for the competition.

She revealed to the media that even requesting for basic supplies for training was a difficulty for weightlifters.

Despite the drawbacks during her training, she gave the Philippines its first Olympic medal in 20 years after her silver medal finish in the 53kg weightlifting event.

Diaz, also a member of the Philippine Air Force, has been dubbed the Philippines’ own ‘weightlifting fairy’ in reference to a popular Korean drama about weightlifters that helped popularize the sport.

She revealed in an interview with Agence France-Presse after her tournament how difficult her training for the Asiad had been.

Her sacrifices included giving up sugar and sweets and implementing a daily training schedule for two months with her coach Gao Kaiwen.

She is aiming to compete once last time in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and plans to invest her cash incentives in her gym and help children interested in weightlifting.

“My main goal is to help out kids in my hometown and realize their dream in weightlifting,” said Diaz.