Tokyo Olympics

Hidilyn Diaz’s Chinese coach to return to China

Beatrice Go
Hidilyn Diaz’s Chinese coach to return to China

TEAM HD. Chinese coach Gao Kaiwen (right) produces a third Olympic champion in Hidilyn Diaz (center).

Hidilyn Diaz's Instagram

Hidilyn Diaz says Chinese coach Gao Kaiwen wants to return to his home country despite alleged backlash from his compatriots

Despite guiding Hidilyn Diaz to a historic Olympic gold, Chinese coach Gao Kaiwen may not be back for another run with the Philippine weightlifting star.

Diaz said Gao had already told her that he wants to return to his home country to be with his family.

Though his contract won’t end until December 2021, which would supposedly include another stint in the delayed Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Vietnam, Gao may leave earlier.

[Ang] plano for coach Gao is alam ko gusto na niyang umuwi. Dapat mag-extend siya hanggang December. Pero gusto na niyang umuwi para makasama ang pamilya niya,” said Diaz on Thursday, July 29, in the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) online forum.

(Coach Gao wants to go home. He was supposed to extend until December. But he wants to go home in order to be with his family.)

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Diaz, Gao, and the rest of Team Hidilyn Diaz (HD) are currently quarantining at Sofitel Plaza Manila after arriving in the Philippines for the first time in 18 months on Wednesday, July 28.

Gao, who added Diaz’s gold medal to his accolades, has a decorated coaching career that includes mentoring Chen Xiaxia, who won the 48kg event in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and Zhou Lulu in the 75kg in the 2021 London Games.

The Chinese coach, though, was allegedly bashed by other coaches for not warning his countrymen of Diaz’s peaking performance.

Alam ko nagalit ibang Chinese coaches sa kanya kasi hindi niya nasabi na malakas na ako,” explained Diaz. “Pero sabi ni coach: ‘Bakit ko sasabihin ‘pag hindi kayo nagtanong.'”

(I know other Chinese coach were angry at him for not giving them a heads up that I’m this strong already. But coach told them: ‘Why would I tell you if you didn’t ask?’)

But Diaz said she doesn’t want to believe just yet the backlash allegedly happening in the Chinese weightlifting community

Hindi ko alam kung binabash siya sa WeChat or website sa China, pero marami na rin nag-interview sa kanya at hindi naman siguro ganyan ang Chinese weightlifting community,” she said.

(I don’t know if he’s being bashed on WeChat or in the website in China, but a lot of people interviewed him regarding it. I just hope the Chinese weightlifting community isn’t like that.)

Diaz, though, expects an even better career for Gao.

Hindi [ako worried]. Alam ko na mas magiging brighter future niya kahit nasa China siya kasi nakaproduce siya mismo together with Team HD ng Olympic gold medal.”

(I’m not worried. I know that his future will be brighter because he was able to produce an Olympic gold medalist again with Team HD.)

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The 30-year-old from Zamboanga 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 the total lift of 224kg.

Gao has been mentoring Diaz since the 2018 Asian Games, where she pocketed the women’s 53kg gold, and also helped deliver her first Southeast Asian Games gold in 2019.

Team HD trained in Malaysia since February 2020 before Diaz eventually qualified for the Tokyo Games women’s 55kg event as the world No. 2 behind Liao – Rappler.com

Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.