OLYMPIC silver medal winner Hidilyn Diaz has no regrets changing plans to set up camp in Chinese Taipei and going to Malaysia where she is now stranded due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Hindi ako nagsisisi sa ano man yung kinalabasan ng training camp ko,” said Diaz from Kuala Lumpur. “Hindi ako nagre-regret.”
Diaz and her compact team composed of Chinese coach Kaiwen Gao and personal mentor Julius Naranjo were supposed to set training camp in Chinese Taipei as the Filipina weightlifter, who won a silver medal in the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics, was preparing for a qualifying tournament for the Tokyo Games.
They had to change plans due to travel restrictions.
“Hindi kami pinayagan dahil kay coach Gao kasi Chinese siya. Yung lahat kasi ng Chinese hindi nila pinapapunta (due to the coronavirus), kaya nag-shift kami sa Malaysia,” said the 29-year-old native of Zamboanga.
Unfortunately, there was a spike in COVID-19 cases in Malaysia, which at one point, was the No. 1 country to be affected by the virus in the Asean region.
The situation forced Diaz and his team to temporarily stop their training camp and stay in an Airbnb.
But the Philippine Air Force sergeant said there was no turning back, especially with the Malaysian government now managing to slow down the spread of the virus.
“Nakita naman namin kung paano nila na-handle yung sitwasyon. Maganda naman kasi mas malaki na yung recoveries nila na nasa 56 percent na,” said Diaz of the situation in Malaysia, which now has adopted phase 3 of its MCO (Movement Control Order), which is the equivalent of the country’s Enhanced Community Quarantine.
Diaz is now trying doing weightlifting clinics online, and has even managed to lead a small fund drive to help Filipinos in need.
“At least nagagamit nating yung sports para makatulong sa iba,” said Diaz.
On Sunday, she will hold another online clinic featuring her strength and conditioning coach, sports nutrition expert Janeth Aro, and sports psychologist Karen Trinidad of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
“I-share nila yung gustong matutunan sa sports psychology and nutrition,” she said of the clinic, which is also part of her fund-raising drive.
The Filipino Olympian couldn’t say at the moment what her plans are especially with the ECQ in the entire Luzon and some parts of the country having been extended on May 15.
Returning will all depend on the COVID-19 situation in the country.
“Hindi pa namin alam ang plano. Kapag andun na yung sitwasyon (na maayos), tsaka kami mag-desisyon,” she said. “Siyempre yung safety din ang inaalala namin, kasi may kasama kaming 63-years-old na si coach Gao. And yung travel papunta diyan (Philippines) baka doon pa kami ma-infect.”
While she gets to work out every day to stay in shape, Diaz hopes to fulfill just one wish at the moment.
“Wish ko lang sana makapag-train ako, na sana may barbell ako rito,” said Hidilyn.