MANILA, Philippines – Even if the fate of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics remains uncertain, Hidilyn Diaz’ No. 1 goal remains to bring home the country’s first Olympic gold.
In previous interviews, Diaz shared her dreams of starting a family after the global sports showpiece if it pushed through this year. But those plans will have to wait until the right time.
“Right now, I just have to prepare for Tokyo 2020 [next year]. Iyon talaga goal namin so doon muna kami and siguro after that saka kami mag-dedecide kung anuman para sa family,” added Diaz.
The 2016 Rio Olympic silver medalist draws most of her determination from her passion for the sport and the belief that she can deliver a gold in the women’s 55kg event.
“Alam natin medyo mahirap [maging motivated] (We know that it’s hard to stay motivated), but I go back to why I am doing this. [It’s] because I love the Philippines and I love weightlifting,” said Diaz in the Philippine Olympic Committee’s (POC) Olympic Day webinar.
“[I have only] one chance and alam ko kaya ko manalo kaya ginagagawa ko ‘yung best ko every time.” (I have only one chance and I know I can win, so that’s why I’m doing my best every time.)
Diaz also shared she wants to continue improving as she tries to qualify for her fourth-straight Olympics.
In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the rising star received a wildcard to the quadrennial meet, then in the 2012 London Olympics, she was chosen to be the flag bearer of the Philippine delegation.
But after a “did not finish” result in London, it motivated her to train harder for the 2016 Rio Olympics, where she won the country’s first silver after boxer Onyok Velasco in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
“‘Yung nangyari sa 2012, naging inspiration iyon sa career ko na gusto ko mag-qualify sa Olympics pero gusto ko manalo. Parang level up. May natutunan ako sa 2012 and in-apply ko sa 2016,” shared Diaz.
(The lackluster performance in 2012 became an inspiration in my career taht I want to qualify for the Olympics and win. It’s like I had to level up. I learned something from 2012 and I applied it in 2016.)
Before the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to the world of sports, Diaz was one qualifer away from officially sealing an Olympic berth.
Her 2020 Roma World Cup win virtually sealed her qualification as she currently ranks No. 4 in the world in the women’s 55kg event.
The 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medalist is currently training in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her Olympic team and has been training there since March. – Rappler.com