First, Caloy Yulo. Now it’s Hidilyn Diaz.
The MVP Sports Foundation (MVPSF) is not about to overlook the decorated Filipina weightlifter as it also extended financial assistance to help her sustain training cost in her bid for an Olympic gold in the Tokyo Games.
With the Olympics put on hold until next year after the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the foundation named after sportsman-businessman Manny Pangilinan sent an SOS to the 29-year-old Diaz in the form of P1.5 million to best suit her current needs.
Diaz, silver medalist in the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics, has been currently locked down in Malaysia for about five months now after the country was put under community quarantine since March 17.
Diaz is the second Filipino athlete overseas to be given financial help by the MVPSF after world gymnast champion Carlos Yulo, recipient of a P800,000 assistance coursed through the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines (GAP).
The foundation has been in constant communication with Diaz, a pride of Zamboanga, to keep track on how she is doing in training and find out where it can step in financially to support her bid to return to the Olympics.
“It was due to these unforeseen circumstances that we at the MVPSF decided that it was best to realign our support to cover Hidilyn’s living expenses such as food and rent as she continues to remain focused towards her goal of winning the first Olympic gold medal for our country in hopefully, her fourth time to qualify for the Olympics,” said MVPSF president Al S. Panlilio.
The financial help was given directly by the foundation to the 2018 Asian Games gold medalist.
“Thank you MVPSF sa lahat ng tulong na binigay ninyo sa akin at sa Team HD during this pandemic,” she said from Kuala Lumpur. “Malaking bagay para sa akin na nandiyan pa rin si MVP at tumutulong sa journey ko towards Tokyo 2020+1. I can’t survive this journey without God, TeamHD, the help of MVPSF, and the support of Filipinos.”
Diaz was in Malaysia training for her final Olympic qualifying event in the 2020 Asian Weightlifting Championships when the COVID-19 pandemic came into the forefront. The turn of events led to the cancellation of the tournament.
To keep herself competition-ready, she recently joined the Eleiko Email International Lifters Tournament held from July 24-25 and won the gold in the 59 kg. category. She had a total lift of 216 kg (95 kg in the snatch and 121 kg in the clean and jerk).
The event was mounted by the Oceania Weightlifting Federation with the assistance of weightlifting equipment brand Eleiko.
“Our chairman Manny V. Pangilinan deeply cares about all of the athletes under the MVPSF banner and we’re doing our best to help take care of their needs during this difficult time,” added Panlilio. “We don’t want Hidilyn to worry about her day-to-day needs so she could pour in all her focus in training and bringing home that elusive Olympic gold medal.”
Diaz is one of the country’s top medal prospects in the Olympics alongside fellow MVPSF supported athletes Yulo, boxers Eumir Felix Marcial and Irish Magno, along with skateboarder Margielyn Didal.