HIDILYN DIAZ-NARANJO competes on Saturday at the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships in Riyadh with a modest goal of improving her world rankings—the Olympic champion is currently ranked No. 7 in women’s 59 kgs class.
“My goal is to compete the best I can and improve my ranking,” Diaz-Naranjo told BusinessMirror via voice message on Wednesday. “I’m well-prepared.”
There are several pathways for Diaz-Naranjo to make it to Paris for her fifth straight Olympics appearance and one of them is to be ranked inside the top 10 in her class at the end of the Olympic ranking window that started August last year and ends April 28, 2024.
After three Olympic qualifying tournaments, Diaz-Naranjo ranks behind China’s Shifang Lou, Ukraine’s Kamila Konotop, Colombia’s Yenny Alvarez, Chinese-Taipei’s Hsing-Chun Kuo, Canada’s Maude Charron and Mexico’s No. 6 Janeth Gomez.
The Riyadh worlds is a compulsory competition for Olympic hopefuls as well as last year’s Colombia world championships which Diaz-Naranjo took part in and won gold medals and next year’s world championships and grand prix and continental championships.
Diaz-Naranjo arrived in Riyadh last Saturday from her training camp in Bahrain with protégé Rosegie Ramos and husband, trainer and coach Julius Naranjo.
“What’s important is to hike my ranking so that I can secure my Olympic berth by next year,” she said. “I will do my best to win a medal although it’s very tough.”
Diaz-Naranjo competed at 59 kgs when she clinched silver at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games and vied at 55 kgs when she won the country’s first Olympic gold medal in Tokyo two years ago.
Her debut in at 59 kgs at the Asian championships in Jinju, South Korea, last April saw her finishing outside of the podium at fourth place.
Ramos, meanwhile, missed the podium after finishing seventh in women’s 49 kgs with a total lift of 188 kgs (86 kgs snatch and 102 kgs clean and jerk).
Lovely Inan also competed at 49 kgs but wound up with a “No Lift” result.
John Febuar Ceniza will see action Wednesday in men’s 55 kgs, after which the spotlight focuses on Tokyo Games champion Diaz-Naranjo and Elreen Ann Ando on Friday in women’s 59 kgs.
Vanessa Sarno, a two-time Southeast Asian Games champion, and Kristel Macrohon will compete in women’s 71 kgs on September 13.
Coaches Tony Agustin and Richard Agosto are also in Riyadh.