Olympic medalist Hidilyn Diaz will not stop dreaming even when she nails her fourth straight appearance in the quadrennial meet.
Diaz – who made Philippine history as a silver medalist in the 2016 Rio Games – bared on episode 4 of the podcast For The Love of The Game that she hopes to complete her business management degree at De La Salle - College of Saint Benilde (CSB) after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“Iyon ‘yung second dream ko. After winning gold in the Olympics, gusto ko magkaroon ng diploma,” said Diaz, who aims to officially clinch a berth to the Tokyo Games in a qualifier this April, just a few months before the Olympics kicks off on July 23, 2021.
(That’s my second dream. After winning gold in the Olympics, I want to earn a diploma).
Diaz managed to claim her first 2018 Asian Games gold medal while studying in CSB, but after more than a year of joining Olympic qualifying tournaments, she needed to delay her studies.
She is also currently based in Malaysia for training as the lockdown last March 2020 prevented her from returning to the Philippines.
But even while she’s busy training to clinch the country’s first ever Olympic gold in the Tokyo Games, Diaz has always looked beyond the sport and continues to run her businesses HD Cleaning Services and Komida Foods.
Even though there are so many things to look forward to in her life after weightlifting, Diaz would never forget why she continues to serve the sport she loves despite the times she feels stuck.
“Minsan iniisip ko: ‘Tama ba tong ginagawa ko para sa weightlifting?’. Minsan iniisip ko walang progress. Iniisip ko parang hanggang dito na lang ako. Minsan din pag may mga trials, gusto ko nang sumuko. Pero iniisip ko lang ‘yung biggest why ko, bakit ko ito ginagawa,” shared Diaz.
"Ginagawa ko 'to dahil mahal ko ang Pilipinas. Bumbalik ako sa why ko kasi mahal ko ang Pilipinas, kasi mahal ko ang weightlifting. Siguro gusto ko din maging inspirasyon sa mga kabataan, sa mga Filipino athletes."
(Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing the right thing for weightlifting. Sometimes I think that I haven't progressed and I think that I’ve reached my limit. Sometimes if there are trials, I want to give up but I always think of my biggest why and why I’m still doing this. I do this because I love the Philippines. I come back to why I love the Philippines because I love weightlifting. I guess I want to be an inspiration to the children, to the Filipino athletes.)
After becoming a wild card participant in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Diaz has continued to set so many milestones in her athletic career, including copping her first Asian Games and Southeast Asian Games gold medals.
The Olympic gold remains to be waiting for her.
Diaz has virtually qualified for the Olympics as she ranks No. 5 in the women's 55kg category with 3,717.0982 points behind Chinese weightlifters Jiang Huihua (4,667.8878), Liao Qiuyun (4,288.9622), Zhang Wangqiong (4,212.6639) and Li Yajun (4,099.0223).
But since only one lifter can represent a country per event in the Olympics, Diaz will likely take the No. 2 spot. – Rappler.com
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.