By Waylon Galvez
With the start of the Tokyo Games Torch Relay, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz is confident the world’s biggest sporting show will finally proceed as scheduled this July.
“Magandang senyales talaga na nag-start na ang Olympic Torch Relay. Parang nagiging reality na ulit,” said Diaz. “Aaminin ko medyo nawalan din ako ng direction last year kasi uncertain ako sa mga pangyayari. Pero ngayon medyo nagkakaroon na ng pag-asa para sa OQT at sa Tokyo Olympics.”
In fact, she’s now looking forward to a successful campaign in the Asian Weightlifting Championships set April 16 to 21 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Diaz, silver medalist in the 2016 Rio Olympics, is eyeing her fourth consecutive Olympic stint in this year’s Tokyo Olympics, originally set last year but was moved because of the pandemic.
Currently ranked No. 5 in her event, the Rio Games silver medal winner needs only to join the event and finish inside the top 8 to book a ticket to Tokyo.
Her team is set to undergo swab testing next week so they can buy tickets for their trip to Tashkent.
“Mag-test na kami sa Monday then bibili na kami ng plane tickets,” said Diaz in a message exchange Friday.
“April 19 ang laro ko pero ang start ng tournament is 16. Pero mag-punta kame doon ng maaga mga April 10 (I’ll be competing on April 19 but the tournament will start on 16. We’ll be there early April 10).”
Diaz and her team, which include Chinese mentor Kaiwen Gao, strength and conditioning coach Julius Naranjo, and therapist Belen Banas, have been in Malaysia for over a year now.
They arrived in Kuala Lumpur in late February to prepare for the Asian Weightlifting Championships in Kazakhstan, but the event was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Like other countries, Malaysia also went on a lockdown that forced Diaz and her team to stay there. Diaz will be competing in the 55kg women’s category in the OQT.
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