By Gab Ferreras, contributing writer
With her firepower and determination to give honor to God and the Filipino sporting community, Pinay weightlifting star Hidilyn Diaz successfully lifts 127 kg in her final attempt at Clean & Jerk in what could be her biggest moment in her 2-decade long weightlifting career, the gold medal triumph in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics last Monday.
In her one of her television interviews yesterday, Diaz describes the moment that she's stepped into the podium and finally doing what could be "The Golden Lift", in which she ruled the competition, and dethroning her biggest rival, Liao Qiuyun of China.
"Siguro noong time na yun kasi diba 127, kinausap ako ni Coach Jeaneth and Coach Julius, sabi niya, your prepared, tapos si Julius, sinabihan ako ni Julius na one motion, ayun pumasok sa isip ko, oo nga, prepared ako, tapos hinawakan ko yung kay Julius na miraculous medal, so hinawakan ko, noong iniisip ko ang daming taong nagpripray sa akin, pumunta ako doon, sinabi ko sa sarili ko, I BELIEVE, I BELIEVE, noong nagpasok ko, isip ko technique ko, wala akong inisip ko kundi ang technique na one motion. Nabigla nga ako noong nag-clean and jerk kaso mahina ako sa pagtayo although malakas nga ako ngayon pero mahina ako doon. Minsan ako nag-gigive up tapos takot kasi ako magbuhat noong 127, baka mainjured ganun. Di ko alam noong time na yun nawala lahat ng takot. Naiyak ako. Di ako makapaniwala na nanalo na ako ng gold tapos Olympics to. Nareach namin ang dream namin together with Team HD so malaking bagay sa amin.", Diaz said.
The 30-year old Zamboanga pride even cried while holding the gold medal and singing the Philippine National Anthem, for the first time since Arianne Cerdena's gold medal win in the 1988 Seoul Olympics bowling demonstration event. She even shares to her followers on the YouTube channel her first meal after the competition.
"Madaling araw na ako kumain noon, 2 am, kumain ako ng sushi, saka pizza. Kumain, kumain.", Diaz explained.
Diaz also gives her opportunity to thank her Team HD, composed of Chinese head coach Kaiwen Gao, strength & conditioning coach Julius Naranjo, sports nutritionist Jeneath Aro and sports psychologist Dr. Karen Trinidad for being there behind-the-scenes at the sidelines and for their collective efforts to help Hidilyn achieve her gold medal victory. She also personally thanked her foster family in Malaysia led by Ahmad Janius Abdullah and the Filipino community for helping in Hidilyn's training camp in Tokyo in preparation for the Tokyo Games.
On what her future plans after Tokyo Olympics, Diaz revealed that she will continue to compete in international competitions coming next year such as Asian Games, SEA Games and World Cup, and afterwards, she will re-assess her condition to determine if she will be competing in her historical 5th-and probably-last Olympic stint in Paris 2024.
"Plano ko pa rin pong maglaro sa SEA Games, and Asian Games, then titignan ko kung hanggang saan ba ang kaya ko after ng Asian Games. Kung kaya pa, kasi nasa peak ako. Di din ako makapaniwala na makapag-snatch ng 97 at makapag-clean and jerk ng 127 at the age of 30 years old, sabi ko hindi yan sa age, sa pagaalaga ng katawan, at alam na yung Team HD, sobrangg galing nila at napalakas nila ako.", Diaz continued.
"Tapos titignan ko kung kaya ko pa ba for Paris 2024, kasi kung kaya pa, go, kasi siyempre depende sa katawan ko, then gusto ko na rin magkaroon ng diploma sa college."
She is also ready to get married and to have a family, but Hidilyn is willing to wait on her boyfriend and S&C coach Julius' yes.
Indeed, Hidilyn deserves all the victories and recognitions bestowed upon her.