A medal placing seems out of reach for Hidilyn Diaz, but the target the weightlifter’s camp is eyeing for the 2012 London Olympic Games could land her very close to a podium spot, based on the results of the previous Summer Olympics in Beijing and the recent Asian Championships in Korea.
Coach Tony Agustin said that their aim in the coming Olympics is for Diaz to surpass her personal best of 219kg, a national record she set during the recent Philippine National Games in Dumaguete City, by attempting to lift 100kg in the snatch and 125 in the clean and jerk.
That would surpass the bronze winning lift of 220 made by China’s Zhou Jun in the Asian meet in April where Diaz placed fourth with a 217-kg lift. That weight is also just a kilo below the third and fourth-placers’ lifts in the Beijing Games.
The 21-year-old Diaz was confirmed for the Olympics last week by the International Weighlifting Federation by virtue of her performance in the Asian Championships.
Agustin said that Diaz, who is ranked ninth in her 58kg division, will hold the final stretch of her Olympic preparations in Manila after doing most of her training in her hometown of Zamboanga City.
“Gusto rin sana namin na mag-training either sa Thailand o Korea pero hindi na talaga aabot. Mas maganda rin sana mag-training sa Zamboanga pero kailangan nandito na kami sa Manila para ayusin ‘yung mga papeles,” said Agustin.
Diaz, who also competed in the Beijing Olympics four years ago as a wildcard entry, said that she is motivated to carry Philippine weightlifting on her shoulders when she competes in London.
“Ako ang nagpapabango ng pangalan sa weightlifting kaya motivation ko rin ‘yun na mapansin ang sport namin,” said Diaz, who will be joined by eight athletes in the Olympics.
Boxer Mark Anthony Barriga, shooter Brian Rosario, judoka Tomohiko Hoshina, long jumper Marestella Torres, steeplechaser Rene Herrera, swimmers Jasmine Alkhaldi and Jessie Khing Lacuna and BMX rider Daniel Caluag are the other athletes bound for London.