Diaz leads weightlifting team gunning for Olympic berths
Hidilyn Diaz can count on her current world ranking to book a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics. Her other teammates in the national weightlifting squad? Not so.
That means they will have to get to the Summer Games the hard way as they fly to Uzbekistan, along with Diaz, to participate in the World Championships, which is the last qualifier for the Olympics.
The 30-year-old Diaz, who has set up her training camp in Malaysia, leads a crack squad featuring youngsters Elreen Ando, Kristel Macrohon, John Febuar Ceniza and John Dexter Tabique.
“Some top Chinese lifters may not be [in the World Championships] but for sure the second stringers will try to perform,” Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas president Monico Puentevella said on Saturday. “So it’s difficult to say. But we are hopeful to send more than two lifters [to Tokyo].”
The two lifters with the best chance to make it to Tokyo are the 22-year-old Ando from Cebu City and the 24-year-old Macrohon from Zamboanga City. If they succeed, they will form an all-female team to Tokyo along with Diaz.
Diaz is going all out for the gold medal, having already won a silver in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
“I told her not to put too much pressure on herself,” Puentevella said. “The important thing is that she enjoys what she’s doing and not get hurt.”
“She [has] a very competitive spirit,” Puentevella added. “But I told her that whatever happens in Tokyo, whatever medals she wins there, she would already be the winningest Filipino athlete in the Olympics.”
“As it is, she has a place in history for winning silver. If she happens to win another medal, no matter the color, she will be immortalized for having two Olympic medals.”
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