Paris Olympics

Hidilyn Diaz tells Paris Olympians to take pride in representing PH

Delfin Dioquino

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Hidilyn Diaz tells Paris Olympians to take pride in representing PH

PH PRIDE. Hidilyn Diaz wins gold for the Philippines in the 2022 Southeast Asian Games.

Chalinee Thirasupa/Reuters

'Do your best. But enjoy the moment,' says Hidilyn Diaz as she turns into a spectator for the Paris Games, missing the Olympics for the first time after four straight appearances

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino athletes bound for the Paris Games do not have to look far for sound advice as they gear up for the biggest fight of their careers.

Hidilyn Diaz, the first and only Filipino to win an Olympic gold medal, gave members of Team Philippines words of encouragement as she turns into a spectator, missing the Games for the first time after four straight appearances.

“Do your best. But enjoy the moment. The Olympics happens only every four years,” said Diaz on Sunday, April 14, during the 60th anniversary event of energy drink MILO at Trinoma in Quezon City.

“Take pride that you’re representing the country.”

Nine have clinched Paris berths: pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnasts Carlos Yulo and Aleah Finnegan, boxers Eumir Marcial, Nesthy Petecio, and Aira Villegas, and weightlifters Elreen Ando, Vanessa Sarno, and John Ceniza.

Another weightlifter, Rosegie Ramos, hopes to catch the plane to Paris.

If Ramos makes the cut, it will be a first time for the country that four weightlifters will don the national colors in a single Olympics.

That is the impact Diaz has created for Philippine weightlifting after bagging silver in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games and a historic gold in the Tokyo Games in 2021 on top of her other accomplishments in the international scene.

“I’m happy for them because they trained hard. That was our goal – to qualify. Now, it is to win,” said Diaz. “As their older sister, of course I’m happy.”

More are expected to qualify as the Philippine Olympic Committee aims to send 25 athletes to Paris.

There, Team Philippines faces the daunting task of surpassing the one-gold, two-silver, one-bronze tally the country netted in Tokyo for its biggest medal haul in Olympic history.

For Diaz, it all comes down to the athletes’ desire to succeed.

“It is all in the heart and mindset and the discipline and grit in the things that they do every day,” said Diaz. “You need to have a dream.” –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.