Now a world champ, Diaz remains 'benchmark' for Filipino athletes

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 08 2022 04:49 PM

EPA-EFE.
Hidilyn Diaz of Philippines reacts after competing in the 55kg women's clean and jerk weightlifting competition during the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31) in Hanoi, Vietnam, 20 May 2022. File photo. Luong Thai Linh, EPA-EFE.

MANILA, Philippines -- Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo remains the gold standard for Filipino athletes, after her dominant performance in the 2022 World Weightlifting Championships in Bogota, Colombia.

This, according to Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Noli Eala who hailed Diaz-Naranjo's latest feat on Thursday.

The Philippines' first-ever Olympic gold medalist finally secured her long-awaited world championship medal in the 2022 edition of the event, when she ruled the 55kg division in women's weightlifting. 

Diaz cleared 93kg in the snatch and 114kg in the clean and jerk for a total of 207kg. She will bring home three gold medals from Bogota, adding to a collection that already includes an Olympic gold and silver, and a gold from the 2018 Asian Games.

"Hidilyn continues to be the benchmark by which every weightlifter and Filipino athlete must measure themselves against," Eala said of Diaz-Naranjo. "The epitome of a Filipino champion."

"The PSC … will always provide support in her continuing quest to bring honor to our country," Eala also said.

Diaz-Naranjo has previously confirmed her intent to represent the Philippines in the 2024 Paris Olympics, where she will go for a second gold medal. However, there will be no 55kg weight class in the 2024 Summer Games; Diaz will either drop down to 49kg or bulk up to 59kg.

Regardless of where she competes, the president of the Philippine Olympic Committee believes that Diaz-Naranjo is taking the right steps towards her next goal.

"This recent breakthrough of Olympic champion Hidilyn Diaz is proof that Filipinos are strong and talented individuals," POC president Rep. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino said. 

"We are truly grateful to Team HD for this is a result of hard work … a combination of determination, continuous training and confidence … and she knows that there are people behind her who truly support her," he added. "Greatness comes when special people congregate and unite for a common goal.

"We firmly believe that our preparation for the Paris Olympics is timely."

Aside from Diaz-Naranjo, other Filipino weightlifters are expected to vie for medals in the world tilt and slots to the 2024 Paris Olympics, including Tokyo Olympian Elreen Ando, Asian champion Vanessa Sarno, Kristel Macrohon, and Dave Lloyd Pacaldo.

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