Hidilyn Diaz misses SEA Games, looks forward to 2019 edition

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Filipino Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz is here for the 2017 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games but not as a competitor, only as a spectator.

The Rio Olympics weightlifter was on hand to support her fellow Filipino athletes, especially teammate and fellow Zamboangueño Nestor Colonia. She also admitted missing the SEA Games adrenaline rush. 

"Na-miss ko (I miss it)," she said with a smile following Colonia's sorry loss in the men's 56kg weightlifting event on Monday, August 28, at the Malaysia Trade and Exhibition Centre here.

"Nung nakita ko 'yung flag, sabi ko kailan ko kaya maiuuwi 'yung medalya na gold para sa Philippines. Sa 2019 sana!" (When I saw the flag I wondered when would I finally bring home a gold medal for the Philippines. Hopefully in 2019!)

The 26-year-old was denied a chance to give the Philippines a gold medal after host Malaysia scrapped women's weightlifting from this year's Games. She has competed in 3 SEA Games (2007, 2011, 2013) and collected two silvers and a bronze.

Diaz isn't too disappointed because she has the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) next month to prepare for. But she still thinks the SEA Games offers a different vibe that she's reliving now for a couple of days.

"Nung before nung send-off party sabi ko ang saya talaga pag SEA Games kasi regional tapos ang daming athletes magkasama," she said. "Iba talaga ang ambiance ng SEA Games."

(Before the send-off I thought the SEA Games is really fun because it's regional and many athletes come together. The SEA Games ambiance is really different.)

Diaz ended the Philippines' 20-year medal drought in the Olympics last year. After the AIMAG, she sets her sights on the World Weightlifting Championships in late November in the US, and then the Asian Games next year in Indonesia.

"Nasa 90 to 100% na ako so 'yung problema ko na lang body weight ko. Lumaki ako e," Diaz said of her status heading into the AIMAG. "Nag-61kg ang body weight ko tapos 53kg ang lalaruin ko."

(I'm at around 90 to 100% already so my problem is my body weight. I gained weight. My body weight reached 61kg and I'll be competing at 53kg.)

Diaz won her Olympic silver in the same 53kg division. She is determined to make weight with the help of a nutritionist.

"Kaya naman, disiplina lang talaga," she said. "Tanong ko lang parati sa sarili ko, bakit kailangan ko bumalik? Bakit ko kailangan harapin ulit 'yung mga pinagdaanan ko nung Rio Olympics?"

(I can do it, it just takes discipline. I ask myself all the time, why do I need to go back. Why must I again go through everything I did in the Rio Olympics?) – Rappler.com