As Hidilyn Diaz targets her biggest goal yet, the Philippines’ weightlifting star knows she can’t do it on her own.
Diaz, a silver medalist in the 2016 Rio Games, admits expectations are high as she competes in her fourth Olympics in Tokyo this July. So she made sure to have a solid team to boost her bid for the country’s first gold in the world’s biggest sporting event.
“It’s really important to have people behind me during this preparation towards Tokyo 2020,” said Diaz. “Kung gawin ko lahat ng trabaho, baka maubos ang time ko kaka-research kung paano ako mag-progress sa sports na ito (If I’ll do all the work, I might use up all my time just doing research on how to progress in this sport).”
Diaz said Team Hidilyn Diaz (Team HD) – composed of Chinese coach Kaiwen Gao, strength and conditioning mentor Julius Naranjo, sports nutritionist Jeaneth Aro, and sports psychologist Dr. Karen Trinidad – proved to be a big help as she powered through training despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic.
“I won’t survive this pandemic without them,” said Diaz in Episode 2 of the documentary “Let’s Go HD!” on the Facebook page of Kick-Start Coffee Brewed Awakening.
“It’s been like a roller coaster ride.”
Diaz’s Tokyo 2020 journey got delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which left her stranded in Malaysia with coaches Gao and Naranjo. (WATCH: Hidilyn Diaz shows Olympic struggles in 4-part documentary)
Still, they found ways to train amid the lockdown and study her opponents more, citing China as the toughest opponent, along with Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Japan.
The Olympic weightlifting events start on July 24 and Diaz will see action two days later in the women’s 55kg – the only event for weightlifting on July 26.
“Hopefully ito na, akala ko kasi noong 2019 kaya ko na siya (China) talunin, baka ito na yung (year) binigay ni God sa akin (Hopefully this is it. I thought in 2019 I can already beat China, but maybe this is the year that God gave me),” said Diaz. – Rappler.com