JAKARTA—Philippine weightlifting chief Monico Puentevella is hopeful about Hidilyn Diaz’s medal chances in the 2018 Asian Games, even as he knows that she is up against world-class competition.
Diaz, who won silver in the 2016 Rio Olympics, is set to compete in the women’s 53-kilogram division on Tuesday at the JIExpo.
Competition is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.
“I’m asking everyone to pray for the success of Hidilyn, because ang kalaban niya is the world champion from Thailand,” Puentevella said Monday after watching Nestor Colonia finish seventh in his own division.
Puentevella was referring to Thailand’s Sopita Tanasan, who won gold in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 then ruled the world championships last year.
“It’s a 50-50 situation tomorrow,” said Puentevella. “She (Diaz) is fighting the world champion from Thailand who is younger than she is.”
“But Hidilyn has the heart, may puso,” he added.
Diaz, 27, did not watch Colonia compete as she is resting. But Puentevella assured that the Olympian was in good spirits.
“I know her style,” he said. “She’ll go silent for the whole day, pahinga.”
“Tapos, bakbakan iyan bukas, maglalaban para sa bayan,” he said.
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