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    Coach confident as Hidilyn raises bar

    Jul 29, 2012
    Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz feels she's a much better athlete now than she was in Beijing four years ago. Jerome Ascano

    LONDON — A flop in her first Olympic bid as a young girl four years ago, Hidilyn Diaz returns to try again.

    "I feel I can do much better this time,’’ said Diaz in Filipino, looking on top of his game as she competes in the 58-kilogram division of the 30th Olympic Games weighlifting competitions at the Excel arena in East London, a short ride away from the Olympic Park.

    One of seven children of a tricycle driver in Zamboanga City, Hidilyn, now 21, will do her thing in Class A where podium finishers will most likely emerge given the target lifts they’ve submitted.

    Upon the instruction of coach Tony Agustin, Diaz submitted a projected lift of 225 kilos, off her personal high of 219 kgs, that sent her in the Class A group where Bulgaria’s Nastassia Novikava (240 kgs) is fancied to take away the gold medal.

    Lifting that target weight doesn’t worry Agustin a bit.

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    "Unlike in Beijing, she’s ready and stronger now. I know she’ll be good tomorrow,’’ said Agustin, her longtime coach and many-time national team member. "Kaya yung 225 kilos."

    Big guns in the Asian scene will also be around in Group A, like Taipei’s Hsing Choo Kuo ,Thailand’s Pimsiri Sirikaew and North Korea’s Chun Mi jang whom she competed against during the Asian championship last year in Pyeongtaek, South Korea where she placed fourth with a 117 total.

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    Diaz is rated ninth in the world right now, a ranking she achieved after figuring prominently in two Olympic qualifiers held in South and France as she began reaping the fruits of her labor after that Beijing debacle.

    But Hidilyn was only 16 going on 17 then, someone who giggled once she got hold of the results that said she was 11th out of the starting field of 12.

    Diaz, who used to haul two five-gallon containers of water for the family for bathing, washing and cooking while growing up in her hometown, has a personal best of 219 total she achieved in a runaway victory in the last Philippine National Games in Dumaguete City.

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    Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz feels she's a much better athlete now than she was in Beijing four years ago. Jerome Ascano
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