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Friday, April 19, 2024

Hidilyn’s coronation: Long, tedious campaign

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HIDILYN Diaz-Naranjo’S success at both the Olympics and world championships wasn’t achieved overnight, national weightlifting association president Monico Puentevella reiterated.

“Hidilyn didn’t get it overnight. She really worked so hard from the beginning to finally win those awards,” Puentevella told BusinessMirror on Friday, a day after Diaz-Naranjo won her first world championships gold medal in Bogota, Colombia, to compliment her Olympic success in Tokyo last year.

“God provided everything for her—to become stronger than ever,” said Puentevella, head of the Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas.

Diaz-Naranjo swept all three golds in the women’s 55 kgs class in Bogota—93 kgs in snatch, 114 kgs in clean and jerk and 207 kgs in total lift—to fulfill her world championships mission and complete her collection of titles that include gold medals from the Asian Games, Southeast Asian Games and weightlifting World Cup.

Her victory in Bogota also kicked off her bid to return to the Olympics as the world championships were the first of six qualifiers for the weightlifting competitions at Paris 2024.

Puentevella said Diaz-Naranjo’s sacrifices were incomparable but their fruits were priceless.

“There were times when Hidilyn didn’t spend Christmas with her family as she had to focus only on her trainings,” Puentevella said. “That’s why I’m overwhelming happy to see her walk on top of the podium again.”

Diaz-Naranjo’s journey began when she was an innocent looking 17-year-old province girl from Zamboanga City in the Beijing 2008 Olympics. She had a forgettable stint in London 2012, but was unrelenting and bagged silver four years later in Rio de Janeiro.

Then came Tokyo which was delayed a year because of Covid-19 and Diaz-Naranjo was stuck in Malacca with then boyfriend and trainer Julius Naranjo for the entire 2020 and half of 2021.

On July 26, 2021, Diaz-Naranjo won the country’s first Olympic gold medal and exactly a year later, tied the knot with Julius.

“Despite deciding to get married this year, she never turned her back on her country. She still worked hard to achieve the World Championships,” Puentevella said. “She’s blessed by God.”

Obviously up next for Diaz-Naranjo are the Paris Games.

“Hidilyn is now preparing for the Paris Olympics,” Puentevella said. “She really wanted to qualify again and try to get another gold medal.”

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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