Weightlifting

Hidilyn Diaz Weightlifting Academy breaks ground ahead of Paris Olympics

Delfin Dioquino

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Hidilyn Diaz Weightlifting Academy breaks ground ahead of Paris Olympics

BREEDING GROUND. The Hidilyn Diaz Weightlifting Academy breaks ground in Jala-jala, Rizal.

Hidilyn Diaz Instagram page

Hidilyn Diaz, the Philippines' first and only Olympic champion, hopes the academy located in Rizal will finish construction in four months as she gears up for a potential stint in the Paris Games next year

MANILA, Philippines – The breeding ground of the next generation of Filipino weightlifters will soon rise as the Hidilyn Diaz Weightlifting Academy broke ground in Jala-jala, Rizal, on Sunday, November 5.

Diaz, the Philippines’ first and only Olympic champion, hopes the academy will finish construction in four months as she gears up for a potential stint in the Paris Games in July next year.

“This is just so important to me, as I prepare for the Paris 2024, I have a place to train together with the kids who dream to be in the national team, be a world champion, and Olympic medalist,” Diaz wrote on Instagram.

Diaz has been committed to her mission of developing weightlifting heroes as she aims to build on the gains the sport has made following her historic Olympic triumph in the Tokyo Games in 2021.

Several children and teenagers, including two-time Asian junior titlist Rosegie Ramos, have been training with Diaz and under the tutelage of her coach and husband Julius Naranjo.

“This has been [her] dream to give back to weightlifting. For me to continue to give back to the Philippines and find myself as a Filipino,” wrote Naranjo, a Guamanian with Filipino roots.

Now 32 years old, Diaz faces a new challenge as she competes in the heavier weight division of 59kg after her original weight class of 55kg which she ruled in Tokyo got scrapped for Paris.

The pride of Zamboanga has returned promising results since she moved up in weight, narrowly missing out on a podium finish in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, in October as she placed fourth.

Now, Diaz looks to qualify for Paris, which will be her fifth straight Olympic appearance.

“We can’t wait to see, hopefully, after four months, from the temporary gym to our soon-to-be training camp preparing for Paris Olympics, and joining us the soon to be weightlifting champions!” said Diaz. – Rappler.com

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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.