Hidilyn finishes far from contending for gold in Asian Championships | Inquirer Sports
Way off expectations

Hidilyn finishes far from contending for gold in Asian Championships

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 04:02 AM April 20, 2021

Hidilyn Diaz

Hidilyn Diaz during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. —SHERWIN VARDELEON

Hidilyn Diaz was apologetic for a performance in the Asian weightlifting championship that saw her land outside of a medal finish this country that has embraced her so much has gotten used to.

But instead of sulking over a fourth-place showing in the women’s 55 kg, Diaz is going to draw inspiration and motivation using this recent defeat as she guns for a gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics later this year, which would snap the Philippines’ century-old chase.


“I would like to apologize for not meeting the expectations of our countrymen,” said Diaz in Filipino during the post-competition online interview from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, hosted by her talent manager, Noel Ferrer.


7th PH representative

“I have learned a lot from this and it made me realize that there are several things that I need to do and improve on,” added the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympic silver medalist who, despite the defeat, still sealed her fourth straight trip to the Olympics by virtue of satisfying a requirement on tournament participation.

She became the seventh Filipino that will see action in Tokyo after pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo and pugs Eumir Marcial, Nesthy Petecio, Irish Magno and Carlo Paalam.

Diaz admitted to feeling uneasy in her first attempt at 90 kilograms in the snatch after being away from a world-class meet for a long time and training only by herself in quarantine for the past 14 months in Malaysia.

The 30-year-old lifting celebrity from Zamboanga City ended up hoisting 94 kg as her best effort in the snatch, giving Chinese Qiuyun Liao (98 kg) and Yajun Li (101 kg) the opportunity to pull away early together with Uzbekistan’s Muattar Nabieva (99 kg).

Trying for a second time in the clean and jerk at 121kg, Diaz could have cornered at least a bronze medal, but she hesitated on going all the way.

“I already knew the technique that should be done and that one second of doubt on the jerk didn’t help,” said Diaz.


Agonizingly short

Liao seized the gold medal after hoisting 124 kg in the clean and jerk for a total of 222 kg, Li assembled 221 kg for the silver and Nabieva got the bronze at 213 kg.

Diaz, whose last tournament was a triple-gold medal performance in the 2020 Roma World Cup early last year, was a kilogram shy from the podium with a total of 212 kg following her 118 kg in the clean and jerk.

She attempted at 123 kg as a last-ditch effort, but was forced to let go midway into the lift.

“I need more muscle memory and more confidence. I didn’t get a medal here, but I obviously needed the competition to know myself better,” said Diaz.

While Liao and Li present a serious threat to Diaz’s gold-medal bid in the Olympics, only one of them can represent China in their weight class. Nabieva and fifth-placer Zulfiya Chinshanlo of Kazakhstan can be a hazard, too.

“I will face most of the lifters who competed here in the Olympics. I have seen their (Chinese) strength and I have three months to make the adjustment,” said Diaz, who will return to Malaysia on April 23 for the final stretch of her preparation for Tokyo.

Meanwhile, Mary Flor Diaz, Hidilyn’s cousin, earlier pocketed three silver medals in the women’s 45-kg division won by India’s Jhilli Dalabehera.

She had a total of 135 kilograms following a lift of 60 kg in the snatch and 75k kg in the clean and jerk.

Cebuano John Fabuar Ceniza won’t go home empty-­handed either with a pair of bronze medals around his neck in the men’s 61-kg event. Ceniza placed third in the snatch (110 kg) and total (245 kg).

Alexey Drozdov of Kazakhstan swept the three golds in the snatch (124 kg), clean and jerk (154 kg) and total (278 kg).

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Elien Perez didn’t make it to the podium of the women’s 49-kg category after carrying a total of 165 kg following combined best attempts in the snatch (73 kg) and clean and jerk (92 kg). INQ

TAGS: Hidilyn Diaz, PH Tokyo 2020, tokyo 2020, Tokyo Olympics

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