ONE of the dreams of Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz became a reality on Thursday as the 2017 Hidilyn Diaz Weightlifting Open Championships was launched at the Meralco Fitness Center in Pasig City.
The event will be held on July 8 to 9 and is open to any participant, local or foreigner, of all ages. Organizers are targeting 150 participants in 16 weight categories.
Aside from winning an Olympic gold medal hopefully in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Diaz said it has also been her dream to organize a tournament in order to spur people to get into weightlifting and discover new talents.
The tournament was made possible by MVP Sports Foundation, Philippine Weightlifting Association, University of the Philippines Weightlifting Club, and CrossFit Manila.
“Nanalo ako sa Rio, sabi ko, ipapagpatuloy ko para sa 2020 Tokyo Olympics pero sino ang susunod sa yapak ko? Sino ang magiging susunod na Hidilyn Diaz sa Pilipinas? Napaisip ako na gumawa ng competitions pero alam ko napakahirap gumawa," she said.
"Pero dahil tumulong ang MVP Sports Foundation, UP Weightlifting Club , CrossFit Ortigas, at PWA, nagawa ang Hidilyn Diaz Weightlifting Open Championships,” added Diaz.
PWA president Monico Puentevella is glad to help Diaz’s plans to help the sport through organizing tournaments.
“It’s an honor to uplift the sport of weightlifting with events like this,” said Puentevella. “We are thankful that Hidilyn has agreed to continue to fight for the sport of weightlifting.”
Cash incentives will also be at stake for the tournament as the champion will take home P3,000. The silver and bronze medalists will get P 2,000 and P 1,000 each.
MVP Sports Foundation head Patricia Bermudez-Hizon said the event is just what the sport needs in order to discover more talents for the national squad.
“Kailangan natin bigyan ng suporta ang mga future athletes and give them the opportunity to compete, prove themselves, and at the same time, make sure that they are going to be supported once they meet the standards. It’s not just about putting up an event. It’s finding talent,” said Bermudez-Hizon.
UP Weightlifting Club head Cyrus Cruz and CrossFit Ortigas chairman Jason Monteverde said they are looking to make the Hidilyn Diaz Open a regular endeavor in their aim to bring weightlifting to more people.