HANOI – Hidilyn Diaz has always been fueled by challenges and this 31st Southeast Asian Games was no different.
Diaz admitted that she gained considerable weight after the historic gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics made her a sports superstar back home. The Zamboanga native bared she also contracted COVID-19 in January.
[See Golden double for Hidilyn Diaz at SEA Games]
“Napaka-meaningful na after winning the gold medal, bumalik pa rin ako, nakapag-deliver ng gold. I was able to drop my weight from 61 [kilograms] to 55,” said Diaz. "I’m so grateful that Team HD helped me reach this performance again and to meet my weight."
The 31-year-old Diaz won her second straight SEA Games gold medal on Thursday, ruling the women’s 55kg weight class with a total lift of 206kg, edging Sanikun Tanasan of Thailand by three kilograms.
Diaz admitted Team HD also had to do extra scouting on Tanasan, a Rio Olympics gold medalist in 2016 at a lighter category [49kg] who didn't compete at the 2020 Tokyo Games only because of a two-year doping ban.
Diaz trailed by one kilogram after the snatch as Tanasan reset the SEA Games record to 93 kilograms shortly after the Filipina lifted 92kg to erase the previous mark of 91 which Diaz herself set in the 2019 SEA Games in Manila.
But thanks to the scouting done by the team, Diaz was confident that she could turn things around in the clean and jerk where she holds the Olympic record of 127kg.
“It was okay, kasi we know her total from previous competitions. We knew that she is strong in the snatch but not in the clean and jerk so I have the advantage,” said Diaz.
“Masaya ako. Yes, natalo ako sa snatch ng one kilo. Kumpiyansa ako sa clean and jerk eh. Malakas ako doon. We prepared for today although siyempre kinakabahan ako kasi Olympic gold medalist din ‘yung kalaban ko.
"Pero again, we were ready as a team and Team HD na nag-prepare sa akin at sa mga tumulong, POC at PSC,” said Diaz.