Hidilyn Diaz grateful to ‘Team HD’ after grueling road to Olympic gold
MANILA, Philippines–Filipino Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz is nothing but grateful for her team for helping her make history in Tokyo.
It was a long and grueling road for Diaz before she reached her ultimate goal in her fourth Olympic, and what made the biggest difference this time was the team behind her.
The members of the famed “Team HD” are Chinese weightlifting mentor Gao Kaiwen, strength and conditioning coach Julius Naranjo, sports nutritionist Jeaneth Aro and psychologist Dr. Karen Trinindad.
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In an Instagram post, Diaz also gave special thanks to coaches Gao and Naranjo who helped her survive 19 months of training in Malaysia.
“They were my family in the 19th months we were in Malaysia. I was able to survive that because they were there, they never left me,” she said in the caption.
“Thank you for the understanding and taking on multiple roles like coach, training partner, chef, driver, masseur, translator and others.”
Hidilyn began her Tokyo quest in the 2018 World Weightlifting Championship in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, the first qualifying Olympic event.
She officially clinched her ticket after competing in the Asian Weightlifting Champions last April, but Diaz only finished fourth in that tournament, prompting her team to go back to the drawing board.
“For me, for ‘Team HD’ we’ll always look back to everything we’ve gone through. It wasn’t easy, there were a lot of doubts during the journey but we didn’t give up,” Diaz said.
“While the victory was unforgettable, I also could never forget our preparations for the last few years. This gold medal is the product of hard work and sacrifices for the country.”
‘HOPE TO INSPIRE’
Diaz documented her journey in a four-part video series entitled “Let’s Go HD!” produced by Kick-Start Coffee Brewed Awakening, where she showed glimpses of her training and routine en route to the Olympics.
It also served as a video diary for Diaz, who spent most of her build up for Tokyo in Malaysia due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is WHY we believe in HIDILYN.Get to know her story before she attempts to lift her Olympic golden dream at the Tokyo Games tomorrow. Watch our #KickstartCoffee #BrewedAwakening #LetsGoHD documentary now📺 and let's cheer for our weightlifting queen together🗣️ Shout it loud and proud: LET'S GO, HD!!!🏋️♀️🏋️♀️🏋️♀️
Posted by Kick-Start Coffee Brewed Awakening on Sunday, July 25, 2021
“I hope to inspire a lot of Filipino people [with the documentary]. That’s the purpose… so our fellow Filipinos can see my journey,” said the 30-year-old Diaz.
Diaz set two Olympic records during her gold-medal clinching performance– a successful lift at 127k in clean and jerk, and a total of 224kg.
She bested China’s Liao Qiuyun, the world record holder who claimed the silver with a 223kg total lift, while Kazakhstan’s Chinshanlo Zulfiya placed third.