MANILA, Philippines – As the country’s only female Olympic silver medalist, Hidilyn Diaz broke barriers to pave way for the rise of young women weightlifters like Rosegie Ramos and Jane Linette Hipolito.
After dominating national competitions and even snatching medals in international events, Ramos and Hipolito – who both earned the POC Super Kids awards in the inaugural Siklab Youth Awards – banner the young Filipino athletes vying for berths in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.
“Yung time ko, ang daming nagda-doubt, maraming nagsasabi na ‘Hey, hindi mo yan kaya, babae ka’ pero sa time nila (Ramos and Hipolito) parang nabreak ko yung ganung stigma na babae ka, sa bahay ka,” said Diaz.
(There were so many doubters during my time that they’re saying: ‘Hey, you can’t do that because you’re a girl,’ but during Ramos and Hipolito’s time, I already broke the stigma that girls should only stay at home.)
Hailing from Zamboanga City, Ramos and Hipolito receive guidance and support from Diaz as they are beneficiaries of the Alsons Power-Hidilyn Diaz scholarship program.
Without hesitation, the 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist would also share advice to the two girls, as she hopes that both of the country’s budding weightlifters will also deliver Olympic medals for the Philippines.
“Ako mismo yung nag-advice sa kanila na ito yung gawin niyo after training, kailangan niyo mag-stretching before training, supplements to take care of yourself, mga ganun kasi nandun na ako, pinagdaanan ko na yun, so sa akin, parang responsibilidad ko yun para ishare sa kanila,” explained Diaz.
(I personally advice them on what to do after training, that they need to stretch before training, to take supplements to take care of yourself. I give them those advices because I’ve been through that, so it’s like my responsibility to share those experiences to them.)
Thirteen-year-old Ramos and Hipolito, 16, are among the 50 awardees in the first Siklab Youth Awards night held on Wednesday, June 27, at Century Park Hotel.
In the same event, Diaz was honored with the inaugural Sports Idol award along with retired boxer Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco, who also won an Olympic silver medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Diaz is already assured of a 2018 Asian Games berth, but the Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas hopes more Filipinos can show their wares in the continental meet by appealing for more slots during the POC congress on Wednesday, July 4.
But whether or not Diaz will be joined by more Philippine bets, she just hopes young athletes will grab more opportunities.
“Sa mga young athletes, yung [go signal to pursue the sport] nandun na. Ang tanong doon: Ano ginagawa nila para sa dream nila? So you need to prepare already para maging reality yung dream na ito,” said Diaz.
(The go signal to pursue the sport is there for the young athletes. The question is: What are they doing to pursue this dream? So you need to prepare already to make this dream a reality.) – Rappler.com