BRIMMING with a lot of confidence in front of her home fans, Hidilyn Diaz showed why she is among the best female weightlifters in the world.
Diaz won her first-ever Southeast Asian Games gold medal, ruling the women’s 55 kg category with plenty to spare that added the Philippines’ golden collection yesterday at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
“Lahat nagbunga,” said Diaz after the victory ceremony. “Ito ang lahat ng bunga ng preparasyon. Sinasabi sa akin ng mga coaches na nandito ka. Ready ka. Kayang-kaya mo iyan.”
With 211 kgs., Diaz defeated Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Thuy (197) and Indonesia’s Klarisa Juliana (175).
It was in the clean and jerk that provided the clincher for Diaz with precision, finishing with 120 kgs., sparking a wild celebration from the gallery that included her provincemates from Zamboanga.
“First time na nandito ang nanay at tatay ko kaya kinakabahan ako. Yung nanay ko medyo nerbiyosa,” said Diaz, a silver medalist in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“Kinakabahan ako kasi maraming magtsi-cheer sa akin. Hindi ko alam kung paano i-handle ang pressure and yung expectation ng taong-bayan,” she added.
“Mabuti na lang at nagawa ko nang maayos. I want to thank God. Sa lahat ng nagdasal. I can’t do it alone. At sa lahat ng Filipino na sumusuporta sa mga atleta.”
Diaz tallied 91 kgs. in her second attempt in the snatch category, besting Nguyen (82) and Klarisa (80).
Diaz tried to go for 94 kgs. on her third attempt for the purpose of improving her chances of qualifying again to the Olympics, but was not successful. Still her 91 was enough to take the upper hand.
“Malaking bagay ito kasi naka-five of six attempts ako. It’s emotional. Mare-ready ako sa crowd na maraming sumusuporta na Filipino, alam ko na i-handle. Para sa bansa, para sa pamilya, para kay God,” said Diaz.
From her SEA Games debut as a 14-year old in 2005 where she placed fifth in Bacolod City, Diaz fulfilled one that has eluded her in the past.
Up next for Diaz is to qualify and eventually clinch the elusive Olympic gold in Tokyo next year and she is ready to give her all.