Chinese coach Gao Kaiwen, who mentored Hidilyn Diaz in her successful bid to capture the country’s first Olympic gold medal, will stay in her team, but maybe in a different capacity.
Diaz, the country’s first Olympic gold medalist, revealed on Tuesday, August 10, in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum that she plans to tap Gao as consultant if he would decide to return to China.
“Nag-usap na kami ng Team HD (Hidilyn Diaz), parang si coach Gao gagawin naming consultant, then si coach Julius (Naranjo) ang head coach, tapos hahanap kami ng assistant coach na magtuturo sa amin sa laro,” said Diaz.
(Team HD discussed it and we’re thinking of making coach Gao our consultant, then coach Julius will be the head coach, then we’re looking for an assistant coach who will help us in our tournaments.)
Diaz had previously disclosed that Gao, who had coached other champion Chinese weightlifters in previous Olympic editions, may return to his home country.
The 30-year-old weightlifter from Zamboanga said she understands how difficult it is to be away from family during the pandemic, so she may need to let go of Gao for the meantime.
“Ito ‘yung time ng pandemic na na-realize natin ang importansya ng pamilya, so grateful ako sa lahat ng binigay niyang oras, ‘yung knowledge niya, sa tulong na binigay niya sa journey papuntang Tokyo 2020,” said Diaz.
“Malaking tulong iyan sa atin, sa amin, sa pagpapanalo ng gold medal sa Olympics. Pero kailangan kong intindihin. Ito ‘yung time na itreasure ‘yung time with his family.”
(In this pandemic, we realized the importance of family. I’m grateful for all the time he has given, his knowledge, the help he has provided in this journey to Tokyo. He was a big help in winning the Olympic gold, but I need to understand that he needs to treasure his time with his family.)
Gao has been mentoring Diaz since the 2018 Asian Games, where she pocketed the women’s 53kg gold. He was also behind her when she bagged her first Southeast Asian Games gold in 2019.
Team HD, which also includes strength and conditioning coach Naranjo, sports nutritionist Jeaneth Aro, and sports psychologist Karen Trinidad, trained in Malaysia since February 2020.
Diaz became the country’s first Olympic gold medalist after winning over world record holder Liao Qiuyun of China in the women’s 55kg event.
She also set the Olympic records in the clean and jerk with a winning lift of 127kg, and a total lift of 224kg. – Rappler.com