ZAMBOANGA – Two-time Olympian Hidilyn Diaz is dismayed at the lack of support that the Philippine government has for its athletes.
Diaz, a weightlifter from Zamboanga, has competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and in the 2012 London Olympics, and is trying to qualify for the 2016 Rio Summer Games.
She has triumphed in international competitions this year, including the 2015 International Weightlifting Federation World Championship in Houston last November where she won three bronzes to remain on track for a spot in the 2016 Olympics.
The road to Rio has not been easy for Diaz, however, and she rues the lack of support of the government during the training and preparation before international competitions.
Even requests for basic supplies for Filipino athletes take months before getting approved by higher officials of the Philippine Sports Commission.
The vice-president of the Philippine Weightlifting Association, Elber Atilano, said most of the basic supplies required for the training of Filipino weightlifters came too late.
Atilano, who also serves as Diaz's training manager, said it is necessary for the programmed food and vitamins of the athletes to arrive early to give ample time for the weightlifters to prepare for their competitions.
He also requested the PSC to provide a nutritionist, psychologist, and conditioning coach for Diaz as she prepares for the Rio Olympics.
Atilano also debunked the PSC's plans for Diaz to hold her training in Baguio City, as he believes the athlete must accustom herself to humid weather like in Rio De Janeiro.
Diaz's official training will begin in January 2016 in Metro Manila.
Diaz was the first female weightlifter to compete for the Philippines in the Olympics when she made her debut in Beijing. She placed 11th out of 12 competitors in 2008. In 2012, she wound up with a 'DNF' (did not finish) after failing to complete her clean and jerk in three tries.
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