Hidilyn Diaz secured her spot in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on Sunday, April 18, in the 2021 Asian Weightlifting Championships at Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Diaz, the 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist, recorded a 94kg in the snatch and 118kg in the clean and jerk for a total of 212kg that nailed her fourth straight appearance in the quadrennial meet. The Philippine weightlifting star finished 4th overall in the event.
Diaz’s official return to the Olympics got delayed when the March 2020 qualifier she was set to join in Cali, Colombia didn’t push through as the country imposed a travel ban on Asians and Europeans at the height of the pandemic.
She only needed then to compete in one more Olympic qualifying tournament, regardless of the medal outcome, to seal her bid. But the travel restrictions left her stranded in Malaysia, where she trained for 14 months.
The 30-year-old Diaz becomes the seventh Filipino to qualify in the Tokyo Games after EJ Obiena (pole vault), Carlos Yulo (gymnastics), and Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, Carlo Paalam, and Nesthy Petecio (boxing).
Diaz had 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 takes the No. 2 spot.
Her cousin Mary Flor Diaz competed in the women’s 49kg division and took home 3 silvers from the event. – Rappler.com