HIDILYN Diaz hopes to prop up his world ranking in a bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics as she competes in the IWF Roma World Cup in Italy starting this week.
The 28-year-old Filipina left for Europe last week along with head coach Kaiwen Gao, strength and conditioning coach and sports masseuse Belen Banas for the five-day meet which serves as a qualifier for the Tokyo Games.
Diaz, silver medal winner in the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics, is currently ranked fifth in the world behind four Chinese lifters in the women’s -55kg category. She has amassed a total of 2,731.76 points so far following her gold medal feat in the same event of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, which was also an Olympic qualifying meet as per the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).
Only the top eight weightlifters in each category earn outright spots in the Tokyo Olympics, where countries are allowed only one entry per event.
Given that four Chinese occupy the first four rankings, Diaz has a good chance of securing the No. 2 spot for a berth in the Summer Games.
Even if Diaz fails to land a medal in the tournament, the pride of Zamboanga will still earn corresponding points merely by seeing action in the meet.
Following the Italy tournament, Diaz will next set her sights on the IWF Asian Championships in Kazakhstan on April 16 to 25.
Shortly after, the Olympian will plunge into an extensive training in Taiwan and Japan if and when she finally secures an Olympic berth.
Prior to the SEA Games, Diaz won two bronze medals (clean and jerk and overall) in the IWF World Championships in Pattaya, Thailand last September, which is a gold standard Olympic qualifying tournament.
Diaz’s international campaigns have the financial backing and support of the MVP Sports Foundation under president Al S. Panlilio.