MANILA, Philippines – It might not be for the near future, but Olympic champion Hidilyn Diaz is willing to choose marriage over career.
Diaz will tie the knot with coach and longtime boyfriend Julius Naranjo at the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio on Tuesday, July 26 – exactly a year since her golden lift in the Tokyo Games.
Their marriage also comes exactly two years before the start of the 2024 Paris Olympics, where Diaz looks to qualify for her fifth straight Games appearance.
“I already won [an Olympic] gold. If I win again in Paris, then good,” Diaz told broadcast journalist Karen Davila on her YouTube channel in a mix of Filipino and English.
“But I choose marriage because this is someone who you’re going to be with until you grow old.”
“It is hard to find the one who can understand you. I can say that [marriage] is something that I need to care for and value.”
The 31-year-old Zamboangueña also wants to start a family once the Paris Games are done.
“After 2024, that is [the time],” Diaz said.
The two met in the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan, where Naranjo also competed as a weightlifter for Guam.
Naranjo eventually joined Team HD – the term Diaz fondly calls her group – and played a pivotal role as her strength and conditioning coach in the Tokyo Olympics.
Following the departure of Chinese mentor Gao Kaiwen, Naranjo has taken over as head coach, with Diaz eyeing another Olympic gold medal.
Naranjo said what she loves about Diaz the most are her passion and her willingness to sacrifice for the sport and the country.
“That is something you do not find in a lot of people and I know that after her career, maybe that same determination she’ll put more of that into our relationship and hopefully our kids one day,” Naranjo said. – Rappler.com