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MANILA, Philippines – Olympic gold-winning weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo aims to formalize her spot in the 2024 Paris Olympics when she sees action this April in the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Cup in Phuket, Thailand.
But Diaz said she’s pacing herself in this Olympic bid, opting to skip the Asian Championships next month.
“I’m getting better, I will not participate in the Asian Championships because I don’t need to, it is more important to play in [the World Cup],” Diaz told reporters on Saturday, January 27.
“I’m getting there, getting stronger, since I am more focused on Paris 2024, because this will be my last Olympics,” added Diaz, who is turning 33 in February.
But Diaz – who copped the country’s first Olympic gold medal in 2021 in Tokyo – will not be able to defend her women’s 55-kilogram title as the weight category got scrapped, forcing the Zamboangueña to move up to 59kg.
Admittedly, Diaz said she had a tough time adjusting, but had since caught up to the rigors of increasing mass.
To prepare for Phuket, Diaz will continue her training in Jala-Jala, Rizal, and the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila, before heading to the neighboring country a week before the IWF competition starts on March 31.
She, however, will have a longer Olympic preparation time in Europe before heading to the French capital.
“We will head to Europe because we need to, we [need to adjust to] the weather there,” said Diaz.
“We must be prepared when we go there about a month before [the Paris Games].”
Olympic weightlifting action starts on August 8 at South Paris Arena No. 6 in the Paris Expo complex. — Rappler.com