Hidilyn Diaz sets sights on Tokyo Olympics after Asian Games gold


Posted at Aug 23 2018 07:59 AM

Hidilyn Diaz salutes after winning gold in weightlifting at the 2018 Asian Games. Courtesy of the PSC media pool

MANILA -- Filipina weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz said she would use part of her P6 million prize from the government to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, as she recalled the tough road to her gold medal finish in this year's Asian Games.

Diaz said she took a leave of absence from the College of St. Benilde and dealt with the pressures of going against world champions.

"May plano si God bakit ako andito kahit mahirap ang preparasyon papunta dito sa Asian Games, na-survive ko tapos sasayangin ko lang? Hindi ako papayag na hindi ako nasa gitna, na hindi ko itaas ang bandila ng Pilipinas. Gustong-gusto ko ito. Kaya ako andito para doon. Gagawin ko ang lahat," Diaz told ANC's Early Edition.

(God has a plan for me. Even if the preparations for the Asian Games were hard, I survived. Will I waste the opportunity? I want to be in the middle, to wave the Philippine flag. I really want this. That's why I'm here. I will do everything.)

The 27-year-old Diaz, who won a silver in the 2016 Rio Olympics, said she was aware that one mistake could cost her a medal finish.

"Goal ko talaga manalo. Syempre, natatakot ako kung magagawa ko ba yun, ang pressure sa sarili ko. 'Yung laro talaga, sobrang isang pagkakamali ko lang wala na," she said.

(My goal was to win. Of course I was afraid if I could do it. The pressure was on me. The game, it takes just one mistake and everything's gone.)

"Yung pressure na nararamdaman ko, medyo mataas-taas," she said.

(The pressure that I felt was a bit high.)

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Diaz's P6 million incentive will be culled from the Philippine Olympic Committee, the Philippine Sports Commission, Siklab Pilipinas Sports Foundation and Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Lee Hiong Wee.

She said she would help her family start a business while hurdling competitions to qualify for the 2020 Olympics.

"Madugo ang preparations, madaming larong lalaruin, 6 competitions kailangan para mag-qualify sa Tokyo 2020," she said.

(The preparations will be tough. I need to join 6 competitions to qualify for Tokyo 2020.)

Diaz said she would resume school later this month.