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MANILA, Philippines – Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo was far from a sore loser after missing the 19th Asian Games podium by just one rank in the women’s 59kg category in Hangzhou, China, on Monday, October 2.
The Philippines’ first and only Olympic gold medalist was all smiles despite settling for fourth place with a 223kg total coming off a 97kg snatch and 126kg clean and jerk.
After all, the veteran Diaz knew she was sailing on uncharted waters for her career after her usual 55kg category was abolished ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics, and so bumps along the way were expected.
“My opponents were all very strong, but I’m still happy [with the results], and yes, at the end of the day, Paris 2024 is still the most important,” she told reporters in Filipino after the competition.
Strong indeed were the rest of the pack as 20-year-old North Korean sensation Kim Il-gyong smashed multiple benchmarks on her way to a world-record lift of 111kg in snatch and 135kg in clean and jerk, totaling an Asian Games record of 247kg.
Diaz, meanwhile, fell at a 100kg snatch attempt and 131kg clean and jerk – both career-high marks at age 32 had she completed them.
“So far, so good for my training here at 59kg. You saw how I tried for 100 and 131. It’s my first time to try those, and I didn’t realize I was already that strong,” she continued.
Diaz will go through two more qualifying tournaments at her new weight class in an attempt to clinch her fifth straight Olympic appearance – likely her farewell run before settling down with her husband and coach Julius Naranjo. – Rappler.com