MANILA, Philippines – Hidilyn Diaz does not need to look far for inspiration as she eyes another shot at Olympic glory, only this time at a heavier weight class.
The weightlifting star looks to replicate what Manny Pacquiao accomplished throughout his legendary boxing career after being forced to move up to 59 kilograms for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Pacquiao is the only boxer to capture world championships in eight different weight divisions, winning his first title as a lightweight (51kg) and his last as a welterweight (67kg).
“It is a huge inspiration to hear that even when people doubted him when he moved up in weight, he still went on to be successful,” said Diaz in Filipino during an event by Alaxan, where she appeared together with Pacquiao.
“He gave me inspiration.”
Diaz clinched the Philippines its first-ever Olympic gold medal when she ruled the women’s 55kg class of the Tokyo Olympics over a year ago.
It was also in the same weight division where the Zamboangueña bagged her maiden world title, completing a golden sweep in the IWF World Weightlifting Championships in Bogota, Colombia last December.
Diaz, though, will not be able to defend her Olympic crown as organizers for the Paris Games removed the 55kg category, including only the 49kg, 59kg, 71kg, 81kg, and +81kg for the women’s competition.
“It is hard to move up in weight because 55kg is my comfort zone, that is where I’m good at, that is where I won gold,” said Diaz.
“At 59, I need to watch what I eat, I need to increase my muscle mass, I need to be stronger because the opponents are tougher.”
Determined to defy the odds, Diaz will begin her campaign to qualify for her fifth straight Olympics as she competes in the Asian Championships in Jinju, Korea in May.
She will also see action in the World Championships in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in September.
“It takes time to build, I just have to trust the process,” Diaz said. “We’ll see the results in Paris 2024.” – Rappler.com
There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.