MANILA, Philippines -- Hidilyn Diaz has no intention of stepping away from weightlifting, after making history by winning the Philippines' first ever gold medal in the Olympic Games.
The 30-year-old Diaz set an Olympic record in the clean and jerk (127kg) and total lift (224kg) in taking the gold medal in the women's 55kg event, Monday night at the Tokyo International Forum.
It was the culmination of a long journey for Diaz, who was competing in her fourth Games after making her debut as a 17-year-old in Beijing in 2008 and winning a silver in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
But she believes she can still keep going, even after reaching the pinnacle of her sport.
"For me, I will focus on the SEA (Southeast Asian) Games, and then may world championship kami," Diaz told Philippine media in a press conference on Tuesday morning.
"Hindi ako magi-stop, dahil kaya ko pa. Nakita ko ang galing ko, at alam ko na may ibibgay pa ako para sa Pilipinas together with Team HD, and with the help of the POC (Philippine Olympic Committee) and the PSC (Philippine Sports Commission)," she added.
"Hindi puwedeng after winning, susuko na ako."
Before winning in Tokyo, Diaz had already won gold in the Asian Games in 2018, and in the SEA Games at home in 2019.
She faces a packed schedule in 2022 after the Vietnam SEA Games were rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games is also set for March 2022 in Thailand; Diaz won silver in the 2017 edition of the AIMAG in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
Diaz did not immediately commit to competing in the 2024 Paris Olympics, which would be her fifth Games if she qualifies.
"Natatakot ako for Paris," she says. "Pero titingnan ko."
"'Yung Paris, 'yung quota for weightlifting is nasa 120 lang, ang hirap ng qualifying," she explained. "Pero kung ang lakas, andiyan, sige pa rin."
Diaz believes that it's crucial for her to keep competing in order to inspire more Filipinos and continue to elevate the profile of weightlifting in the country, after already proving that it can be a gold mine for Philippine sports.
"I need to still continue to inspire the young generation to still dream," she said. "Ayaw ko na 'yung standard ng sports, bababa, kaya kailangan tutuloy ako hanggang may susunod sa akin."