Diaz says Rizal Sports Complex has been neglected
CHANGE is not coming at the old Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.
This was the observation of Rio de Janeiro Olympic silver medalist and Asian Games champion Hidilyn Diaz as she felt dejected over the poor state of what is known as the home of Filipino athletes.
“There’s been no change. We need changes, improvements,” Diaz told her adoring townmates in Zamboanga City, who gave her a warm welcome a few days ago following her gold medal victory in weightlifting during the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Diaz emerged as one of only four athletes who gifted the Philippines a gold medal in the Jakarta meet, winning the women’s 53-kilogram in weightlifting and proving she is the country’s biggest hope for a first ever Olympic gold come the 2020 Tokyo Games.
In a report by Julie Alipala that came out in the Inquirer on Wednesday, Diaz, in her speech, lamented the decay of a complex that once hosted the Asian Games as the city government feted, toasted and rewarded her with a ‘bonus’ for the job well done.
“Let’s face it. I admit that we athletes are giving our all, but look at our Rizal Sports Complex,” she was quoted as telling her fans shortly after a motorcade around the city.
Around the sports complex, condominiums have risen. “There’s so much change except at the Rizal Sports Complex,” Hidilyn said.
No, she’s not blaming the government for the neglect, but Hidilyn stressed the need to address this problem before it’s too late.
“It’s my appeal (to save the complex),” said Diaz, who was given an incentive of P300,000 by the city government, the latest in a string of monetary rewards that’s coming her way for the Asian Games’ conquest.
In all, Diaz stands to earn P7 million as incentives from the government and private sector, including an additional P1M from President Duterte.
In the same speech, Diaz mentioned her ultimate wish of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics and eventually gifting the country its first Olympic gold medal before calling it quits in the sport that has been good to her.
What’s next for Hidilyn?
In a few weeks, Hidilyn will return to the training room to prepare for the world championship set in November in Turkmenistan, where she hopes to earn a qualifying berth for Tokyo 2020.