MANILA, Philippines – Three-time Olympian Hidilyn Diaz is pouring all her energies on the 2018 Asian Games, where she hopes to bring home a medal after missing out on last year's Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia.
Women's weightlifting was not included in the 2017 SEA Games program in Kuala Lumpur, robbing Diaz of a chance to build on her historic achievement in the 2016 Rio Olympics when she won a silver medal – the Philippines' first medal in the Olympic Games in 20 years.
"Tinanggal 'yung weightlifting (sa SEA Games), kaya ngayon na may weightlifting (sa Asian Games), doon ako babawi," Diaz said Monday during the sidelines of the Women in News and Sports Panel at the Makati Diamond Residences.
The Philippines is expected to send two female weightlifters to the Asian Games, which will be held on August 18 to September 2 in Indonesia.
Diaz, 27, is virtually assured of one of the two spots, having already won a medal at the Olympics. She intends to again compete at the 53-kg division, where she believes that she will have the best chance of winning a medal.
"Preparing ako for the Asian Games," she said. "Nag-stop ako sa school, and focus muna sa weightlifting. I'm working with my team, and then 'yun. Sana manalo ako sa Asian Games."
Diaz reported that her preparations are going well.
"Andoon na ako," she said. "Andoon na ang lakas ko."
"Yung body weight na lang, kasi 'yun talaga 'yung struggle ko," she explained. "Pero nagtitiwala naman ako sa sarili ko, saka sa binibigay na meal plan ng nutritionist ko."
Diaz also expects to receive additional instruction from a Chinese coach who will arrive in the country soon.
The 2018 Asian Games marks the most high-profile event that Diaz will compete in following the Olympics.
After winning silver in Rio, Diaz won silver as well in the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan, and bronze in the World Championships in Anaheim.
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