Asian Games champ Hidilyn Diaz fulfills weightlifting gym promise in hometown

Karl Cedrick Basco, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 26 2018 01:35 PM

MANILA – From a bamboo-woven paneled makeshift gym to a large, concrete and well-built weightlifting training place. 

Rio Olympics silver medalist and newly minted Asian Games golden girl Hidilyn Diaz did good on her promise — to build a new weightlifting gymnasium for all aspiring lifters in her hometown Zamboanga City.

Upon her return from Brazil in 2016, Diaz revealed to ABS-CBN News that she wanted to have a legitimate gym for weightlifting in Barangay Mampang in the city where she started her journey as a young lifter.

Located beside her home, the Hidilyn Diaz Weightlifting Gym was opened to the public on August 1, 2017, just a year after announcing her promise. 

According to her cousin, Allen Diaz, who is a regional trainer of weightlifting, the construction of the fully furnished gym attracted more young residents of their city to try and train the sport, hoping to follow the footsteps of Hidilyn. 

“Sobrang saya ng mga bata [kasi may gym na sila ngayon],” Allen told ABS-CBN News. “Mas dumami ‘yung mga nagpupuntang bata.”

Allen bared that he is now coaching about 30 lifters, aging from 6 years old to 24 years old, in the newly-built gym which is open free for all the athletes. 

The 27-year-old athlete first trained under a sampaloc tree in a neighboring barangay along with her cousins, who influenced her to try the sport after seeing her lifting pails of water as early as 9 years old. 

She continued her training for years in a makeshift gym in front of their house where she and her cousins only have limited number of bars and deformed and improvised plates. The gym was semi-cemented and just 15-square-meter big. 

On Wednesday, Hidilyn captured the first gold medal of the Philippines in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia after carrying 207kg to beat Turkmenistan and the defending world champion from Thailand.

Here’s a look of the Hidilyn Diaz’s gym in Zamboanga.

Jewel Reyes, ABS-CBN News

Jewel Reyes, ABS-CBN News

Jewel Reyes, ABS-CBN News

Allen Diaz

Allen Diaz

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