Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz has confirmed that all she needs to do is just practically “show up” at the Asian weightlifting championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in April to book her fourth straight Olympic appearance in Tokyo in July.
“All I need to do is get my weight sa weigh-in at may entry po sa laro. (All I need to do is get my weight at the weigh-in and enter the event.) Whatever the result of the Asian championships, it doesn’t matter already,” Diaz said last Tuesday from her training camp in Malaysia.
“I just need to complete the six competitions kasi ’yun ang requirements na wala ako (I just need to complete the six competitions because this is the requirement that I lack),” the Zamboanga City pride stressed.
Based on the Olympic qualifying ratings process of the International Weightlifting Federation, the world body for the sports, Olympic hopefuls are required to compete in a minimum of six IWF-sanctioned competitions while maintaining their places in the rankings.
Diaz, 29, has seen action in five events and is currently No. 5 in the women’s 55-kilogram behind China’s Jiang Huihua, Liao Qiuyun, Zhang Wanqiong and Li Jayun, ranked first to fourth, respectively.
She said she expected her Chinese rivals to likewise participate in the Asian meet set April 16 to 25 in the Uzbek capital.
Li bagged a gold apiece in the snatch and combined lifts at the 2019 world championships in Pattaya, Thailand with hoists of 102 and 227 kilograms, respectively. Diaz had bronzes in the clean-and jerk (121 kg) and total lifts (214) in the same event.
The top eight lifters in the weight division at the Olympic cut-off at the end of April will advance to the Tokyo Games.
Diaz reiterated her need to have her complete support staff by her side in Tokyo, clarifying that she wanted sports nutritionist Jeaneth Aro, and not coach Catalino Diaz as earlier reported, to be part of her team besides Chinese coach Gao Kaiwen and fitness and conditioning trainer Julius Naranjo.
“Si Catalino Diaz po ang first coach ko sa weightlifting pero di po siya kasama ng Team HD ngayon (Coach Catalino Diaz is my cousin and first coach in weightlifting but he is not part of Team HD right now,” Diaz said.
“ ’Yung kasama po sa warm-up ay ang sports nutritionist po, si Jeaneth Aro po. Siya po kasi nagmo-monitor ng food intake, body weight ko, saka recovery after the weigh-in. (Sports nutritionist Jeaneth Aro should be with me in the warm-up area because she monitors my food intake, body weight and recovery after the weigh-in).”
Diaz, a member of the Philippine Olympic Committee Athletes Commission, had expressed her concern during last month’s POC general assembly meeting.
A registered nutritionist-dietitian, Aro is a graduate University of the Philippines Diliman with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Community Nutrition from the UP College of Home Economics, and recently posted on Facebook page that she acquired her IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition after taking the course for 2 years.
Diaz, who has been training in Malaysia since early 2020, said that Aro remained in Manila while regularly monitoring her body weight, intake and sending her custom-made meal and nutrition plan.
“But I wish she could be in Tokyo since reducing weight is crucial in weightlifting. You only have two hours of recovery after the official weigh-in before the actual competition,” Diaz noted.
“These are one of the factors you have to consider because I believe that we have a strong chance of winning.”
Given that she has been training non-stop, the Air Force Sergeant said she was primed for the Asian championships and that “maglalaro na lang talaga ang kailangan. One year ko na rin po kasi ito hinintay. (All I really need to do is perform. I have been waiting for a year).”
Diaz said she would not show all of her cards in Tashkent “kasi ayaw namin ipaalam kanila saan na strength namin. Kasi nga tinatanong at minomonitor na ako ng China. (I don’t want the Chinese to know my strength because they have been asking questions and have been monitoring me.)”
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