Hidilyn Diaz says China team mad at her Chinese coach for not sharing extent of her strength
MANILA, Philippines — Weightlifting champ Hidilyn Diaz on Thursday disclosed that the China team supposedly got mad with her Chinese coach when he did not share with them the extent of the Filipino star’s strength, which led to her clinching the gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics.
“Team HD” weightlifting coach Gao Kaiwen was first tapped to join Diaz’s side, with the help of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), after she won gold in the 2018 Asian Games 53kg class.
“Hindi makapaniwala ang China na ganito na ako kalakas, then siyempre si Coach din, hindi niya na-share sa China. Medyo nagalit kasi ang China din sa kanya kasi hindi niya na-share kung saan na yung lakas ko,” Diaz said in an interview with ANC.
(China couldn’t believe that I’m this strong, then of course, Coach did not share that with China. They were a bit mad at him because he did not share the extent of my strength.)
“Siyempre ang [sabi] ko, ‘bakit niya ishe-share?’ Nandito kasi siya para mag-work, to work for me para palakasin ako. So, siyempre mixed feelings ‘yun sa atin kasi nga dahil sa political, international [issue]…yung sea natin. Walang giyera, pero nai-representa ko ang Pilipinas, natalo ko ang China,” she added.
(Of course, I thought ‘why would he share?’ He’s here to work and make me stronger. There are mixed feelings, with the political, international issue [with] our sea. While there’s no war, I was able to represent the Philippines and beat China.)
Gao, a former head coach of the Chinese national women’s army team, had partnered with conditioning coach Julius Naranjo to build up Diaz’s strength for the Tokyo Olympics.
Diaz conquered the women’s 55 kilograms weightlifting competition in Tokyo, ending the Philippines’ 97-year quest for an Olympic gold medal.
The Zamboanga-born athlete also lifted a record-setting combined weight of 224kg and a Games mark of 127kg in clean and jerk.
But according to Diaz, China’s side did not expect her to lift that much weight.
“Ang tingin kasi nila sa akin, for how many competition na na nagawa ko, ang total ko is 214 kg lang, 215, 212 at hindi nila nakita yung best ko. So, sabi nila, ‘Ay hindi, hindi yan mananalo, si Diaz, hindi yan, imposible yan.’ So nung laro, nabigla sila na malakas ako,” she added.
(For so long, with the competitions I participated in, they thought I could only lift a total of 214 kg, 215, 212 and they did not see my best. ‘No, Diaz won’t win, that’s impossible.’ So when the games came, they were shocked at how strong I really was.)
China is a weightlifting powerhouse. The country has won four gold medals and one silver–Diaz’s toughest opponent Liao Quiyun–so far in Tokyo.
“Kung makita niyo, five over five, ngayon siguro nine over 10, sa kanila lahat ng gold medal. Nai-sungkit ko ang isa, at may Olympic record pa…hindi ako makapaniwala doon,” she added.
(They usually clinch five out of five gold medals for example, but now, they only bagged nine out of 10. I was able to clinch one and I also set an Olympic record…I can’t believe it.)