Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz never imagined that her name would be featured on the biggest and grandest local weightlifting competition that the Philippines has ever seen. She lacked sleep in the last few days before the 2017 Hidilyn Diaz Weightlifting Open Championships (HDWOC) but she was a ball of energy when the competitions finally kicked off.
“Sobrang hindi ko na-imagine na malalagay yung pangalan ko sa event na katulad nito so nagpapasalamat ako sa TV5, MVP Sports Foundation, Meralco, at sa lahat ng tumulong parang matuloy itong event na ito,” she said. “After ng Olympics, yung susunod ko talagang plano is magkaroon ng gym at mag-umpisa ng tournament kasi gusto ko na dumami pa yung maging interested sa sport ng weightlifting.”
Diaz used the momentum brought about by her silver medal finish in the 2016 Rio Olympics to promote the sport she has loved since she was a young kid. As a result, the 2017 HDWOC was the best-attended tournament in history with 136 participants in total.
From Philippine team members to weightlifting enthusiasts to first-time competitors, everyone was welcome to join the competition inside the Meralco Multi-Purpose Hall to push themselves to the limit and measure themselves against some of the best in the country.
Diaz started the event as a coach for her nephew and cousin as they opened the competitions by winning the silver and bronze medals in the Men’s 56-KG category.
“Mas kinakabahan pa nga ako pag ako yung coach kasi hindi ko kontrolado, unlike pag ako yung nagbubuhat,” Diaz admitted.
Later in the day, she also coached her brother to a silver medal in the Men’s 69-KG category.
“Masaya ako na pinagkakatiwalaan nila ako pagdating sa training nila pero kanina kinabahan rin ako kasi alam ko na yung kapatid ko, kabado siya,” she added. “Pag yung ibang tao kaya kong kontrolin yung kaba nila pero pag sa kapatid ko parang ako yung nahahawa.”
Although there’s still one more day left in the competitions, Diaz already considers the first one a success and she’s looking forward to spear-heading even more weightlifting tournaments in the future.
“Yung goal kasi is to do this hindi lang sa Manila. Gusto ko magkaroon sa Northern Luzon, sa Central Luzon, sa Visayas, at sa Mindanao para maabot natin yung mas maraming tao,” Diaz said.
“Masaya ako kasi maraming nagtatanong kung meron next year. Maraming nagsasabi sa akin na next year sasali na sila,” she added. “Sana yung mga nagiisip sumubok sa weightlifting, huwag silang matakot. Huwag nilang isipin agad yung outcome kasi sa weightlifting, dapat i-enjoy mo yung process. Wala naman sa amin yung nag-umpisa na magaling agad.”
Asked why she seems so willing to put time and effort in promoting weightlifting in the country, Diaz’s answer was simple.
“Naniniwala kasi ako na ang unang gold medal ng Pilipinas sa Olympics sa weightlifting makukuha.”
— Patricia Hizon (@patriciahizon) July 8, 2017