How Hidilyn Diaz is jumpstarting the next generation of weightlifters

Nov 10, 2022
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(Left) Hidilyn Diaz at the 2022 SEA Games in Vietnam.
PHOTO: (Left) Jerome Ascano

BACK WHEN she was still starting out in the sport, Hidilyn Diaz had to make do with rusty equipment and makeshift barbells. From then, the hardships of the journey never let up. Still, she steeled herself and kept her eye on the goal.

“Kahit mahirap yung training, hindi ako sumuko. Never say die yung attitude ko, together with my coaches na sinusuportahan ako,” Diaz told Spin.ph at the sidelines of the Ginebra calendar launch event last November 7.

Still, the country's first Olympic gold medalist doesn’t want the country’s next generation of weightlifters to kick off their dreams, as she did, with homemade barbells cast from concrete blocks and plastic pipes.

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    Hidilyn Diaz and Julius Naranjo donate weightlifting equipment all over the country

    Recently, Diaz and her coach-husband Julius Naranjo have been donating weightlifting equipment to clubs all over the country.

    “Last year pa yung plano na talagang idi-distribute namin sa weightlifting community at para ma-increase yung awareness about weightlifting dito sa Pilipinas,” she said.

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    “For me, it's one of our advocacy ng asawa ko na to really do something to give back to the weightlifting community.”

    Beneficiaries so far have included Manila Weightlifting Club in Tondo, the Borromeo Weightlifting Club in Taguig City, the Dasmarinas Weightlifting Club in Cavite, as well as several Cebu gyms: Sisters of Mary Boys Town, Consolacion Weightlifting Gym, University of Cebu, and the Carreta Weightlifting Gym.

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    The Armed Forces of the Philippines and several local government units have also received equipment from the initiative, which has received support from SpartPH, Stronghold Athletics, Mazda Philippines, and even car customizer Atoy's Custom 4x4 Bodykits.

    “We're thankful na nagawa naming i-distribute ito sa iba't ibang lugar gaya ng Manila, Cavite, Taguig, Cebu,” she said. “Yung importante kasi, we're creating new clubs.”

    It’s something that she herself didn’t experience when she was growing up in Zamboanga and she first chanced upon the sport.

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    “Mas maraming oportunidad yung mga bata ngayon. We're happy na isa kami nagbukas ng door sa kanila na makita ang dream nila sa weightlifting, sa life,” Diaz went on.

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    (Left) Hidilyn Diaz at the 2022 SEA Games in Vietnam.
    PHOTO: (Left) Jerome Ascano
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