Hidilyn Diaz wary of SEA Games foes


Posted at May 11 2022 06:43 PM

She is the odds-on favorite to win gold in her division, but Olympic champion Hidilyn Diaz remains wary of her opposition in the 31st Southeast Asian Games.

Weightlifting is scheduled for May 19 to 22 at the Hanoi Sports Training and Competition Center in Vietnam, with Diaz eyeing a second straight SEA Games gold after winning at home in 2019.

"Everyone of us can win a gold medal," said Diaz, who refused to make a prediction. "I can't cite names, because all of us are doing our best to perform at the highest level."

"I can't make any prediction since all the athletes are capable of winning a gold medal," she added.

A day after arriving in Ho Chi Minh City, the 31-year-old Zamboangueña plunged into training at the Steel Saigon gym to prepare for her gold medal bid in the women's 55kg category on May 20.

"I'll train for one week here in Ho Chi Minh City to prepare myself," said Diaz.

Helping Diaz reach topnotch form on competition day are members of the HD team who arrived with her last Tuesday in Ho Chi Minh City -- head trainer Julius Naranjo, nutritionist Jeaneth Aro, and sports psychologist Dr. Karen Trinidad.

Diaz's teammates on the women's team, who will fly to Hanoi on May 16 after their rigid training at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, are reigning Asian champion Vanessa Sarno (-71 kg), Tokyo Olympian Erleen Ann Ando (64 kg), 2019 SEA Games gold medalist Kristel Macrohon (+71 kg), 2019 SEA Games silver medalist Margaret Colonia, Asian Championships silver winner Mary Flor Diaz (45 kg) and Rosegie Ramos (49 kg).

The men's team members are Rio Olympics bet Nestor Colonia (67 kg), Fernando Agad (55kg), John Dexter Tabique (-89kg), Rowel Garcia (61kg), John Kevin Padullo (+89kg), and Lemon Tarro (73kg). They will be joined by coaches Gregorio Colonia, Nicolas Jaluag, Gary Hortelano and Patrick Lee.

Before winning the gold in Tokyo Summer Olympic Games last July, Diaz had already won the silver medal in 2016 Rio Olympics and a gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.