TOKYO – Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz has a chance to be the first Filipino multi-medal winner in the Olympics in nearly 90 years, and she’s determined to do just that, promising a show to remember in her hour of reckoning here on Monday.
“Her team has been saying we’re going to see a show and we’re in for a surprise. I’m hoping they’re right,” said Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas (SWP) president Monico Puentevella.
Armed with an over a year of serious training away from any distractions in Malaysia, Diaz competes in her fourth Olympics with a goal of matching or surpassing her silver-medal feat in Rio in 2016.
If she achieves a podium finish with a medal of any color, the 30-year-old Diaz takes a special place in Philippine sports history.
She would be the first Filipino multi-medal winner since swimmer Teofilo Yldefonso won back-to-back bronzes in 1928 and in 1932.
Puentevella said there’s no reason to doubt Diaz’ capability.
“Lutong-luto si Hidilyn. And Tokyo could be her baby,” said the weightlifting chief, believing Diaz has a fighting chance to be the athlete to deliver the coveted first gold medal for the country.
If she settles for silver or bronze, Puentevella said he would also be happy.
“Mabigat ang laban sa gold. If she gets the gold, thank you. Kung silver, happy pa rin ako,” said Puentevella.