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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Diaz-Naranjo tempers expectations in performance in heavier 59 kgs

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HIDILYN DIAZ-NARANJO’S journey to a second Olympic gold medal looks bumpy and circuitous as she virtually starts from scratch in a heavier weight division at 59 kgs of women’s weightlifting.

And the path to Paris 2024 could see Diaz-Naranjo deviating away from the 32nd Southeast Asian Games which Cambodia is hosting from May 5 to 17.

Diaz-Naranjo told BusinessMirror that she has to choose her competitions this year and early 2024 to prime her mind and body for a shot at a second Olympic gold.

“I will be heading to 59 [kgs] and that would be a very challenging preparation and competition, it’s not easy,” Diaz-Naranjo said. “I might not win at the start, but I will qualify and win the gold in the Paris 2024 Olympics, I’ll do my best.”

She hinted that she’s starting like it’s all over again.

“I would like to tell everyone that the life of an athlete is not always on the positive side…or you always have to win, I just want to say that,” the 31-year-old Diaz-Naranjo said. “I will accept whatever results and I hope my fans will also accept that.”

It took Diaz-Naranjo four Olympics—Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio de Janeiro 2016 and finally Tokyo 2016—to win for herself and the country a first Olympic gold medal.

But with the 55-kg division bumped off from the Paris program, she decided to compete in the next heavier weight division.

“But what’s important is we always fight to achieve our goals—and that’s to win my second Olympics gold medal,” she said.

Cambodia could be stricken off her 2023 program—in the process preventing her from winning a third consecutive SEA Games gold medal.

The Cambodia Games run simultaneously with the Asian Weightlifting Championships—a Paris Olympics qualifier—which are set May 3 to 13 in Jinju City, South Korea.

Diaz-Naranjo didn’t confirm if she’ll skip Cambodia although it’s most likely she will as she needs to follow up on her world championships success in Bogota, Colombia, where she won her first gold in the competition via sweep of the three golds in the 55 kgs class.

The following events are men’s 61 kg, 73 kg, 89 kg, 102 kg and +102 kg then women’s 49kg, 59kg, 71 kg, 81kg and +81 kg. Diaz-Naranjo, after the Worlds in Colombia, is set to compete for five more Olympic pre qualifiers to get points and qualify for the French capital’s biggest sporting spectacle.

Diaz-Naranjo’s fellow Tokyo Olympian, Erleen Ann Ando, will also shoot for a slot in the 59 kg class—although each country could only qualify one athlete per weight class in the Olympics.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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