Diaz, Cray cop silver medals
ASHGABAT—Hidilyn Diaz was close to giving up and doubted herself going into her first important tournament after the 2016 Olympics.
The country’s savior in last year’s Rio de Janeiro Games found out that she can still keep up with the world’s best and joined sprinter Eric Cray of athletics in providing silver medals for the country late Tuesday night in the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.
“I can still do it,” said Diaz, whose Rio medal was the first for the country in the Olympics since boxer Mansueto Velasco’s silver in 1996.
“I was about to give up before we went here because it was hard to be disciplined all the time. But I again proved I can still compete,” added the 26-year-old lifter from Zamboanga City.
Liao Qiuyun of China seized the weightlifting gold medal in the women’s 53kg after lifting 93kg in the snatch and 115kg in the clean and jerk for a total of 208 kg.
Diaz carried 90kg in the snatch and was able to hoist 114kg in the clean and jerk, giving her a combined output of 204kg in the total. Kristina Shermetova of Turkmenistan placed third after compiling 196kg.
Cray sprung from the starting blocks just fine but Hassan Taftian of Iran was a step ahead when they reached the line to grab the gold medal in the men’s 60m held at the Indoor Athletics Arena.
Taftian clocked 6.55 seconds and Cray, who topped his qualifying heat, checked in at 6.63 seconds. Reza Ghasemi of Iran took the bronze in 6.64 seconds.
Both Diaz and Cray will receive a cool million as cash incentive from the Philippine Sports Commission for their silver performances that hiked the country’s medal output to two gold, five silver and 10 bronze medals for 11th overall in the 62-nation sportsfest.
Taekwondo jins Kristopher Robert Uy and Olympian Kirstie Elaine Alora contributed a pair of bronze medals to the Philippine cause.
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