Hidilyn begins 2024 Olympics journey with world championship quest
After seizing the most significant prize in weightlifting, Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo is out to add another meaningful hardware to her collection when she competes in the 2022 International Weightlifting Federation World Championships.
The Filipino Olympic champion arrived in Bogota, Colombia, with her husband-trainer Julius Naranjo ahead of Wednesday’s medal round in the women’s 55 kilograms, the weight class that Diaz-Naranjo ruled in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics in record-smashing style.
“I’m excited. It will be a little bit challenging to qualify again in Paris. But again, I will do my best with Team HD,’’ said Diaz, who is looking at the tournament as a springboard for the 2024 Olympics scheduled in the French capital.
Before bringing her act to the Colombia worlds, the nation’s first gold medalist in the Olympics attended a star-studded training camp in Suwanee, Georgia, with fellow champion Maude Charron of Canada (Olympic 64 kg gold medalist).
With them were Americans Katherin Vibert (76 kg Tokyo silver medalist) and two time Pan American champion Jourdan dela Cruz.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to train with weightlifting Olympians from three countries. Thank you for giving me the best training environment before the world championship. I [was able to] see the passion, dedication, determination and hard work in training,’’ said Diaz-Naranjo.
The world championship that began on Monday has been penciled as part of the qualifying process by the International Weightlifting Federation for the 2024 Paris Olympics, where Hidilyn’s weight category has been scrapped.
There are talks that Diaz-Naranjo, who won a silver medal in 2016 Rio de Janeiro, will to move up to 59 kg in what would be her fifth and final Olympic Games, but nothing is cast in stone yet.
For now, the acclaimed Filipino sports heroine will stick to her weight class, hoping to include the world championship gold to her stacked up trophy room. INQ