Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo isn’t done yet, despite missing Paris ticket
SEAG GOLD

PH golden girl isn’t done yet, despite missing Paris ticket

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 04:05 AM April 16, 2024

Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo

Philippines’ golden girl Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo. —REUTERS

Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo, the country’s first and only Olympic gold medalist, is far from done.

Despite missing the cut in the coming Paris Olympics recently, Diaz-Naranjo isn’t discounting the possibility of competing in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games anew and gunning for the gold in Bangkok, Thailand, next year.

“The SEA Games is something I look forward to. But I’m not sure yet if I’m competing,’’ said Diaz-Naranjo, the 2019 and 2021 SEA Games gold medalist in the women’s 55 kilograms.

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One thing that’s sure is the competitive fire inside her will keep on burning.“I will still represent our country. I’ll continue to train and aim to win a gold medal for the Philippines again,’’ said Diaz-Naranjo, the 2022 world champion and 2018 Asian Games winner in her fighting weight class.

READ: Timeline: Hidilyn Diaz and her journey to making Olympic history

The two-time Olympic medalist who cornered a silver medal in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games aimed for a fifth straight Olympic appearance but her trip to the romantic French capital wasn’t meant to be.

Electing to move up in weight after the 55-kg division got scrapped, Diaz-Naranjo fell short of qualifying in the women’s 59 kg in Paris after Cebuana Elreen Ando wound up with a better performance in the final qualification meet in the world cup recently in Phuket, Thailand.

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The 33-year-old pride of Zamboanga City, however, won’t miss the Games. She will be in Paris as a member of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Athlete’s Commission during the weightlifting event on Aug. 7 to Aug. 11.

READ: Hidilyn Diaz’s legacy will remain untainted

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“I’m a member of the IWF Executive Board and vice chairman of the IWF Athletes’ Commission, so I will be there,’’ said Diaz-Naranjo.

Aside from Ando, Vanessa Sarno (women’s 71 kg) and John Febuar Ceniza (men’s 61 kg) also made it to Paris while the qualification of Rosegie Ramos (women’s 49 kg) hangs in the balance pending the official announcement of the IWF next month.

“We pray and wish them all the best. I’ll be definitely supporting them all in my heart,’’ said Diaz-Naranjo, admitting that she cannot openly cheer for them during the Games due to her status.

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After spending nearly a lifetime in weightlifting, Diaz-Naranjo said she would take a breather for a while but would not turn her back on the sport that has given her so much.

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