Hidilyn charts qualifying path to Paris Games


HIDILYN DIAZ-NARANJO’S Team HD has identified four of five qualifying competitions that would give the country’s first Olympic champion another golden opportunity in Paris next year.

“We’re aiming for quality and not quantity,” Diaz-Naranjo’s husband, coach and trainer Julius told BusinessMirror via internet call on Tuesday from Georgia in the US.

Diaz-Naranjo’s route to Paris starts with the Asian Weightlifting Championships in Jinju, South Korea, from May 3 to 13, followed by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships from September 2 to 17 in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), IWF Grand Prix in Doha (Qatar) from December 1 to 17 and the IWF World Cup in Thailand in April 2024.

“We’re searching for a fourth competition because it’s very important to preserve our strength and be wise with every decision we make,” Julius Naranjo said.

The couple are currently training at the Power and Grace Gym in Swanee, Georgia, home to the US and Canadian Olympic weightlifting teams.

They will be back on March 25 and will fly to Japan for another training camp starting April 16 and will fly directly to Jinju for the Asian championships on May 2.

Diaz-Naranjo is eyeing the women’s 59 kgs gold medal in Paris after the 55 kgs class where she won gold in Tokyo was scrapped.

She’s bracing for a tough challenge from the “monsters” in the heavier class, prompting her to be more scientific in her preparation.

“It’s more on technique and programming for the Chinese, Korean and Japanese weightlifters, who are very strong,” said Diaz-Naranjo, whose team picked the US because of its approach in training. “It’s different in the US where weightlifters there are focusing on scientific approach.”

“I have to adapt and change everything to win. I cannot rely on what I did in the Tokyo Olympics, I really need to do something new,” she added.

Diaz-Naranjo started her Paris Olympics qualifying campaign in last December’s world championships in Bogota, Colombia, where she swept won three gold medals.

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