MANILA, Philippines -- Hopes are high among the Filipino weightlifters after their tremendous campaign in the 30th Southeast Asian games at home.
The Philippine weightlifting team produced two gold medals, courtesy of Olympian Hidilyn Diaz and rising star Kristel Macrohon. They also scored three silver medals and two bronzes.
For Macrohon, it was an unexpected gold. She edged her Vietnamese rival in the women's 71kg, and could not contain her emotions after the victory.
"First time ko po nag-SEA Games," she said. "Sobrang saya ko po talaga na, na-representa ko 'yung Pilipinas po dito sa SEA Games."
She had plenty of inspiration. Aside from her family, Diaz was there to watch her every lift at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium. The words of the Olympic silver medalist stayed with Macrohon as she stepped onto the stage for her event.
"Sinasabi din sa akin ni Ate Hidilyn na kaya mo, gawin mo lang best mo lahat, kaya mo 'yan," said Macrohon.
"Lagi po nila sinasabi na, 'Ate, huwag ka lagi mag-negatibo. Kaya mo 'yan,'" she also said.
There is no doubt that Diaz is an inspirational figure among the Philippine weightlifters, especially as she continues to collect accolade after accolade. But with lifters like Macrohon looking to follow in her footsteps, Diaz has just one piece of advice.
"Sana, they can do more," says Diaz. "Hindi lang maging parehas ko kung hindi maging mas higit pa kay Hidilyn Diaz."
"Sana, maiuwi nila ang gold medal for the Philippines," she said.
Diaz and Macrohon will now turn their focus to the qualifying process for the Tokyo Olympics. Also hoping to make it to Tokyo are silver medalists Elreen Ando and John Ceniza.
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