The winning doesn’t stop for Hidilyn—not now, anyway | Inquirer Sports
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The winning doesn’t stop for Hidilyn—not now, anyway

By: - Sports Editor / @ftjochoaINQ
/ 04:05 AM July 28, 2021

Hidilyn Diaz vows to give herself and the country more celebrations like this one. —REUTERS

TOKYO—It seems fitting, at least in the case of Hidilyn Diaz, that the last pose a weightlifter holds before letting go of the barbell is one with both arms skyward, fists closed, as if channeling the thrill of triumph.

Diaz hopes to create more moments like that.

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After briefly entertaining the thought that the Tokyo Olympics would be her farewell tour as a national athlete, Diaz said she is ready to buckle down to work and explore how far she can push the boundaries of her talent.

“I won’t stop because I can see that I can still do it,” Diaz told a Zoom conference on Tuesday. “I saw how good I am and I know that I have more to give for the Philippines.”

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“I still need to continue to inspire the young generation to dream,” she added.

She’s proved bottomless inspiration already after becoming the first Filipino to win a gold in in the Olympics, a feat the country had been chasing since it first joined the Olympiad in 1924.

These are where she wants to erect more milestones: The Southeast Asian Games next year and the World Championships.

Defending in Paris

Strength permitting, she said, she could defend her title in Paris in 2024.

Diaz said the road to the next Olympics would be rough, but she hopes to strengthen partnerships that her group—which she calls Team HD—built on the way to the Olympic gold.

“With the help of the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee [we’ll get there],” Diaz said.

Their help, she said, will be crucial. Diaz will be 34 by the time the Summer Games rolls to Paris.

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“It’s been an eye-opener for me here,” Diaz explained. “You can’t win in the Olympics without preparation and the right people behind you.”

Team HD, for instance, is bankrolled by public and private sponsorships. Aside from the PSC, groups like the MVP Sports Foundation have helped put together Diaz’s vaunted team: Coach Gao Kaiwen, strength and conditioning coach Julius Naranjo, psychologist Dr. Karen Trinidad and nutritionist Jeaneth Aro.

“Winning the gold wasn’t easy,” Diaz said. “But the people behind me made it a bit easier.”

And Diaz hopes the same people will help her strike yet another striking Olympic pose. INQ

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