Hidilyn Diaz wins only gold missing from her collection
Having fame, fortune, being a wife and very little time for herself haven’t stopped Hidilyn Diaz from performing at her best as she set her bid to qualify for Paris 2024 in swashbuckling motion on Thursday by collaring three gold medals in the 55-kilogram division of the World Weightlifting Championship in Bogota, Colombia, to rake in the only hardware missing in her medal collection.
The 31-year-old, who won the only gold staked in the same division in the Tokyo Olympics last year, was the best in the snatch, clean and jerk and total in the Colombian capital as she finally reigned in the Worlds while getting her bid for Paris—where the Philippines’ second Games gold can be won—right on track.
“Finally, I [get a] win at the World Championships,” Diaz told the International Weightlifting Federation website after the win. “I am so happy with that.”
Diaz snatched a total of 93 kgs for her first gold before ruling the clean and jerk with an effort of 114. She failed to improve on this, though, by failing at 117 and 121 as she tried to establish a personal best for the year.
Her 207-kg tally was eight kilos better than hometown bet Rosalba Morales’ effort for the silver.
No nonsense prep
WORLD CHAMPION 👑Hidilyn Diaz rules the SNATCH (93kg), CLEAN & JERK (114kg) and TOTAL (207kg) in the women’s 55kg division, sweeping all three golds at the Weightlifting World Championships!📹: International Weightlifting Federation
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Diaz and the rest of Team HD prepared well and hard for this, arriving in Colombia ahead of the rest of the field to acclimatize, a factor that spelled the downfall of many others with Bogota being 2,640 meters above sea level.
The PH contingent first set up camp in the United States before heading to Colombia a week before the competition.
“It was good timing because this is the last time that I will compete at 55 kg,” said Diaz, who would need to choose between going down to the 49-kg division or moving up to 59 kg in Paris.
After winning in Tokyo, Diaz was understandably the toast of the country last year. It was a victory that not only wrote history, but also kept her busy with numerous appearances, commercial shoots and her own work in giving something back to the sport.
“It’s really hard when you become famous,” Diaz told the website. “I have been able to control it, but it’s very hard time management.”
Diaz also tied the knot with her long-time coach Julius Naranjo earlier this year.
“[This win] is absolutely amazing,” said Philippine Weightlifting Federation president Monico Puentevella. “It shows her incredible commitment.”
“This recent breakthrough of Olympic champion Hidilyn Diaz is proof that Filipinos are strong and talented individuals,” Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino said in a statement released to media outlets.
“We are truly grateful to Team HD for this is a result of hard work,” the statement said. “[This latest achievement is] a combination of determination, continuous training and confidence.”
Dream medal haul
To say that Diaz is the best Philippine athlete of her generation is an understatement as she completed a medal collection others could only dream of.
Before being queen of the Tokyo Games, Diaz had pocketed gold medals in the Southeast Asian Games, the Asian Games and the Asian Championships. She could be the Philippine Sportswriters Association’s Athlete of the Year yet again.
The Bogota event is a required event on the list of qualifying events for Paris 2024, where Diaz will hope to win a second straight gold even after her old division had been taken out of the events.