SEA Games: Hidilyn Diaz set to fly to Hanoi ahead of weightlifting delegation | Inquirer Sports
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SEA Games: Hidilyn Diaz set to fly to Hanoi ahead of weightlifting delegation

/ 07:02 PM May 10, 2022
hidilyn diaz tokyo olympics

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Weightlifting – Women’s 55kg – Group A – Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Japan – July 26, 2021. Hidilyn Diaz of the Philippines in action. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

HANOI — There is no small competition for the country’s first and only Olympic champion. That’s why Hidilyn Diaz wanted to fly into this Vietnamese capital 10 days before weightlifting starts in the Southeast Asian Games here.

Competition starts on May 19 with the 31-year-old Filipino a favorite to win the women’s 55-kilogram division. But Diaz wasn’t allowed to leave early by the Philippine Sports Commission which was working on the timetable set by the SEA Games organizers through Philippine Olympic Committee.

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Samahang Weightlifting sa Pilipinas president Monico Puentevella said he expects Diaz to still arrive here early with her own corporate sponsors spending for it.

“She requested to go 10 days ahead of the pack to acclimatize,” said Puentevella. But rest of the weightlifting team is set to arrive May 16.

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PSC executive director Guillermo Iroy said they have to follow the recommendation of the POC which is also taking its cue on flow chart provided by the organizers.

“I believe they have a schedule to follow because flights will have to be coordinated with the hotels,” said Iroy referring to SEA Games organizers. “But Hidilyn can still choose to arrive early provided she arranges her own accommodation before rejoining the team that will come later.”

Puentevella said the contingent is powered by lifters who all can be considered as Diaz’s “heirs apparent.”

“They will all win medals, the SEA Games is just a stepping stone for all of them,” Puentevella boldly predicted. “They are looking to become qualifiers in Paris (Olympics).”

She was referring to Elreen Ando (women’s 64-kg), Kristel Macrohon (women’s 71-kg) and 17-year-old Rosegie Ramos who will lead the contingent targeting five gold medals at Palace of Culture here.

Olympian Cris Nievarez bannered the rowing team in the preliminary events Tuesday at Thuy Nguyen Aquatics Center in Hui Phong.

The defending champion in lightweight single sculls will tow along a crack squad that includes Joanie Delgaco, Alyssa Hannah Go, Feliza Jane Lenton, Edgar Fas, Zuriel Sumintac, Athens Greec Tolentino, Roque Abala Jr., Christian Joseph Jasmin, Analyn Pagulayan and Josephine Mirelle Qua.

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Chess started with individual standard event pitting the country’s wood pushers against Malaysia and Vietnam at Quang Ninh Exhibition Palace of Urban Planning and Expo.

Kurash, which gave the country a gold in 2019 edition, began with preliminary events at Hoa Duc Gymnasium with Estue Gay Liwanen debuting.

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Inquirer’s special coverage of the Hanoi SEA Games 2021.

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