MANILA, Philippines -- Filipina weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz will join an elite club when she is honored as the Philippine Sportswriters Association's Athlete of the Year during its Awards Night next month.
Diaz, 31, proved in 2022 that she has plenty left in the tank even after making history by giving the Philippines its first-ever Olympic gold medal.
She highlighted her 2022 season by ruling the women's 155-kg class in the IWF World Weightlifting Championships at the Gran Carpa Americas Corferias Convention Center in the Colombian capital of Bogota.
Diaz completed a golden treble, claiming top honors in the snatch with a lift of 93kg and in the clean-and-jerk with a lift of 114kg, for a total of 207kg. This marked her breakthrough triumph in the world championships, following five failed bids in her previous campaigns.
The special feat completed Diaz's bucket list of winning a gold in international events, from the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games, World Championships, all to the way to the Olympics, a feat no other Filipino athlete in history had ever achieved.
In recognition of the latest in a long line of honors she brought to the country, Diaz will be bestowed anew with the Athlete of the Year award by the PSA during its Awards Night on March 6 at the grand ballroom of the Diamond Hotel.
This is the third time in the last five years that Diaz will receive the honor, and her fourth overall. She is only the third person since 2000 to win the award four times after world boxing greats Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire Jr.
"Hidilyn Diaz was the unanimous choice as Athlete of the Year for 2022 by the Philippine Sportswriters Association. Her latest triumph is a testament to her being a true world-class athlete who continues to be an inspiration to the Filipino people since her historic gold medal win in the Tokyo Olympics," said PSA president Rey Lachica, sports editor of Tempo.
An enlisted personnel of the Philippine Air Force with the rank of Staff Sergeant, Diaz kicked off her 2022 campaign by retaining the gold in the women's 55kg event during the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam last summer.
Two months later, she entered a new phase of her life by marrying long-time coach and fiancé Julius Naranjo in Baguio City.
Following a brief rest, Diaz was back in active competition and soon after, conquered the world with her golden feat in Bogota.