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MANILA, Philippines – Hidilyn Diaz already has her sights set on a fifth Athlete of the Year award from the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA).
To do that, the weightlifting star feels she needs to win another Olympic gold medal.
Diaz said she will pull out all the stops to capture another Olympic title in the 2024 Paris Games after receiving her fourth Athlete of the Year plum from the PSA during its Annual Awards Night at the Diamond Hotel on Monday, March 6.
“It will be the Olympics again next year, I’ll do everything to bring home the gold medal,” Diaz said in Filipino.
“I hope that I’ll be able to return here next year for my fifth Athlete of the Year award. Manifesting for the Philippines.”
The Zamboangueña, who won the award for the first time in 2016 following her silver finish in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, went back-to-back after finally clinching the world title that had eluded her for years.
She stamped her class in the IWF World Weightlifting Championships in Bogota, Colombia, in December as she completed a three-gold sweep in the 55kg division.
Further cementing her status as one of the Philippines’ sporting greats, Diaz became the fourth athlete to nail the Athlete of the Year honors at least four times.
Only bowling legend Paeng Nepomuceno and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao have more with five each, while Diaz is tied with veteran boxer Nonito Donaire.
“It is important that you love what you’re doing, know your purpose why you’re doing it, whether for yourself or for your family,” Diaz said.
“But for us, especially to my fellow athletes, we are doing this for our love of our country and for our sports. Us Filipino athletes, we continue to fight our country. I believe that many of you will follow in my footsteps and win gold in the Olympics.”
Diaz led a huge honor roll of nearly 100 awardees, which included athletics greats Lydia de Vega and Elma Muros-Posadas.
The late De Vega, who died in August 2022 after a battle with cancer, got elevated to the PSA Hall of Fame, and Posadas earned the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Rising tennis ace Alex Eala clinched the President’s Award, while the Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas took home the National Sports Association of the Year honors.
Pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo, boxer Carlo Paalam, pool artists Rubilen Amit and Carlo Biado, and esports team Blacklist International were among those who won major awards. – Rappler.com