There’s still plenty of gas left in the tank for Hidilyn Diaz.
More than a year since giving the Philippines its first ever gold medal in the Olympics, the Filipina weightlifter hasn’t slowed down yet and reached another milestone in her storied career.
Diaz, 31, finally stamped her class in the IWF World Weightlifting Championships behind a dominant sweep of the women’s 55-kilogram class during the 88th edition of the meet held at the Gran Carpa Americs Corferias Convention Center in the Colombian capital of Bogota.
Behind a golden treble, the Zamboanga City native ruled the snatch with a lift of 93kg and 114kg in the clean-and-jerk, for a total of 207kg and a breakthrough in the world meet following five failed bid in previous campaigns.
The special feat completed Diaz’s bucket list of winning a gold in international events, from the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games, World Championship, all to the way to the Olympics, an exploit no other Filipino athlete in history had ever achieved.
In recognition of the latest in a long line of honor she brought to the country, Diaz will be bestowed anew with the Athlete of the Year award by the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA).
The humble Filipina weightlifter will be honored with her third Athlete of the Year trophy in the last five years during the traditional San Miguel Corporation (SMC)-PSA Awards Night on March 6 at the grand ballroom of the Diamond Hotel.
In all, this will be the fourth Athlete of the Year honor for Diaz, making her only the third person since 2000 to win the award four times after world boxing greats Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire Jr.
“Hidilyn Diaz was the unanimous choice as Athlete of the Year for 2022 by the Philippine Sportswriters Association. Her latest triumph is a testament to her being a true world-class athlete who continues to be an inspiration to the Filipino people since her historic gold medal win in the Tokyo Olympics,” said PSA President Rey C. Lachica, sports editor of Tempo.
The gala night presented by the Philippine Sports Commission and Cignal TV, won’t be possible without major backers Philippine Olympic Committee, Tagaytay City Mayor Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino, MILO, Rain or Shine, 1Pacman Rep. Mikee Romero, Philippine Basketball Association, OKBet, and ICTSI.
The year that passed was truly memorable for Diaz, who also won a silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
An enlisted personnel of the Philippine Air Force with the rank of Staff Sergeant, Hidilyn kicked off her 2022 campaign by retaining the gold in the women’s 55kg event during the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam last summer.
Two months later, she entered a new phase of her life by marrying long-time coach and fiancé Julius Naranjo in Baguio City.
Following a brief rest, Diaz was back in active competition and soon after, conquered the world with her golden feat in Bogota.