‘I can’t give up’: Hidilyn Diaz grits through trials to Olympic gold

It's always the middle that is difficult, but weightlifting star Hidilyn Diaz grounded herself each time to keep pushing forward.

In an interview with Rappler's CEO Maria Ressa in Hold The Line on Wednesday, August 4, the Philippines' first Olympic gold medalist said she didn't let go until the end.

"Habang nasa pandemic kasi sinabi ko: 'Hindi ako puwede mag-give up, malapit na ako manalo. Bakit ako mag-gigive up?' Ang ranking ko second na sa below China.," shared Diaz.

"Hindi puwede ako mag-give up na 'yung reason ko is dahil mahirap. Sayang eh. 'Yung pinaghirapan ng buong team na magqualify [sa Olympics] tapos ako 'yung mag-gigive up? So hindi ako sumuko kasi alam ko na kaya kong manalo."

(During the pandemic, I said that I couldn't give up, I'm so close to winning, why should I give up? My ranking is already second below China. I can't give up just because it's difficult. It would be a waste. The team worked really hard to qualify for the Olympics then I'll just give up? So I didn't give up because I believed that I could win.)

Diaz battled through doubts, and challenges from the government like getting dragged in a so-called matrix to oust President Rodrigo Duterte in 2019 and being called out by the Philippine Sports Commission when she asked for financial support on social media.

But every time she would get hurt by circumstances and naysayers, she would just ground herself back to her "why" and draw strength from there.

"Sa tanong na saan ako kumukuha ng lakas sa lahat, sa lahat ng trials, sa lahat ng bash, bumabalik ako kung bakit ko ito ginagawa," said Diaz.

"Ginagawa ko kasi mahal ko ang Pilipinas, mahal ko ang weightlifting at ginagamit ako ni God... binigay niya sa akin yung sports na ito to give inspiration to the young generation."

(To the question on where I get my strength to go through all the trials and bashers, I go back to my why. I am doing this because I love the Philippines, I love weightlifting and I believe God put me here to inspire the younger generation.)

She also wouldn't be able to stay on track without Team HD (Team Hidilyn Diaz), composed of coach Gao Kaiwen, strength and conditioning coach Julius Naranjo, sports psychologist Karen Trinidad, and sports nutritionist Jeaneth Aro.

"Hindi pa ako sumusuko kasi hindi ako iniwan ng Team HD – the people behind me – kasi kung wala sila, maggigive up siguro ako kasi mag-isa lang. Mahirap talaga but they assured me that they will stay," said Diaz.

(I didn't give up because Team HD did not leave me. If they weren't here, I would've given up already because it's hard to be alone, but they assured me that they will stay.)

Diaz defeated world record holder China's Liao Qiuyun for the elusive gold in the Tokyo Games women's 55kg event and set the Olympic record of 127kg in the clean and jerk and the total of 224kg.

The 30-year-old weightlifter from Zamboanga became the first Filipina double Olympic medalist after pairing her Tokyo gold with her 2016 Rio Olympic silver medal conquest.

Swimmer Teofilo Yldefonso was the only other multi-medaled Filipino Olympian after winning the bronze in the men’s 200 meter breaststroke in the 1928 Amsterdam and 1932 Los Angeles Games. – 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.

image