DARWIN, Australia – Kate Diaz is looking to follow in the footsteps of a famous aunt when she competes in the 2019 Arafura Games.
The 15-year old is the niece of 2016 Olympics silver medalist and 2018 Asian Games gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz. And she is setting her sights on a medal right in her first major competition overseas at the Darwin Convention Centre on Saturday.
Diaz is the lone weightlifter from the Philippines competing in this year's Arafura Games, which is being revived after an absence of eight years.
“Medyo kinakabahan pero excited po,” Diaz told SPIN.ph. “’Yung feeling na eto na, andito na ‘yung lahat ng ginawa kong training kasama si papa, magpepay off na dito. Puwede pa akong manalo ng medal representing the country.”
Diaz’s father Catalino is a former member of the national pool. Catalino is a cousin of Hidilyn and he was one of the reasons why the latter picked up the sport.
Catalino is now imparting his knowledge to his only daughter.
“Kami ni Haidie, parati naman kami nag-uusap,” said the 38-year-old Catalino, who is now based in Davao City. “Ako talaga ‘yung nag-start sa kanya 'nung bata rin siya. Nandoon pa rin ‘yung respeto as a coach.”
Incidentally, a tip from Hidilyn enabled Kate to compete in this year's Arafura Games, where several weightlifters weren't allowed to compete after failing to submit the Anti-Doping Adminstration and Management System (ADAMS), or oftentimes referred to as the 'whereabouts' in the weightlifting community.
The whereabouts, which indicates where a weightlifter has been going for a specific quarter of the year, is now mandated by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) for all weightlifters to be eligible to compete in sanctioned tournaments.
Catalino said about 30 weightlifters from different categories were barred from competing in the Arafura Games due to the absence of the whereabouts document.
“Kung hindi dahil sa kanya [Hidilyn], hindi ko mapapasa ‘yung whereabouts. Sinabi niya sa akin, kailangan ipasa mo ‘to dahil eto na ‘yung bagong rules. ‘Yung iba, hindi nila alam. Napasa ko three months before. Kapag hindi mo naipasa, automatic pagdating ng competition, hindi ka talaga makakalaro,” said Catalino.
Catalino also said relies on Hidilyn to keep up with the advances in the sport.
“Nagshe-share kami ng ideas ni Hidilyn. ‘Yung sine-share niya, sine-share ko rin sa kanya (Kate) kasi scientific approach na eh. Iba na dun sa kinalakihan ko na ganito dapat. Ngayon, iba na,” said Catalino.
Kate, who is now a member of the national pool after winning medals in the National Open 6-in-1 weightlifting competition in Cebu last year, said she is grateful for the help she is getting from her father and her aunt.
And what is Hidilyn’s advice to Kate?
“Ang payo niya, nung last time na nanalo ako, 'wag ako mag-relax. Hindi ibig sabihin na nag-gold medal ako, hindi dahil nakapasok ako sa Philippine team, hindi dapat ‘yun na mag-relax ako. Sabi niya, pag-igihan ko pa at mag-visualize pa ako ng mas mataas na goal,” said Kate.
Kate’s father believes his daughter has a chance to win a gold in the women’s 45-kilogram division.
“May chance tayo na makakuha ng gold medal. ‘Yung ang assurance namin ni Kate kung papalarin tayo. Kalaban namin Chinese Taipei. Medyo malakas din. Iniistrategize namin kung paano mananalo,” said Catalino.