“Sino ang susunod sa akin?” Hidilyn Diaz shares her dreams for Pinoy weightlifters

Ceej Tantengco on Jun 08, 2017 07:38 AM
Hidilyn Diaz shares her dreams for Pinoy weightlifters
“Bagay na bagay ang weightlifting sa mga Pinoy, sa height natin, sa katawan natin, at pati sa attitude na we never give up." -- Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz (File/ AP Photo)

A gym in every town, filled with Filipinos from all walks of life—that’s the dream for 2016 Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz. Since her victorious return from Rio, Diaz has opened a gym in her hometown of Zamboanga, toured the Philippines as a motivational speaker for the youth, and most recently, launched her own weightlifting open competition.

“Ito ‘yung way ko para magturo at ma-share ‘yung tamang form sa mas maraming Pilipino,” she said of the Hidilyn Diaz Weightlifting Open Championships. “Gusto ko kahit bakal boys, tama ang form!”

For every Filipino

Weightlifting has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity thanks to Diaz’ success, but Diaz says there’s still a long way to go. The CSB student is pushing to have weightlifting in collegiate leagues like the UAAP and NCAA. Once the doors are opened, she says, the talent will start pouring in.

“Bagay na bagay ang weightlifting sa mga Pinoy, sa height natin, sa katawan natin, at pati sa attitude na we never give up,” explains Diaz.

Competitions like the Hidilyn Diaz Weightlifting Open Championships will grow more diversity in the weightlifting community: “Lahat, pwede dito. Beginner o athlete talaga, mga Crossfitter, babae at lalaki, bata at matanda…Actually, kapag nakakakita ako ng mga matatandang weightlifter, ako mismo nai-inspire!”

In particular, Diaz also hopes that more women get into weightlifting. “Gusto ko makakita ng mga girly girls. Kasi maraming natatakot na, ‘ay, lalaki katawan ko.’ Pero mas maganda nga ‘yun kasi magiging fit ka at magkaka-shape,” she says.

For the provinces

Grassroots projects don’t just promote the sport—they open new possibilities for youth in the provinces.
 
“Sa weightlifting, nagbago buhay ko,” shares Diaz. “Kapag gumaling ka, makakapasok ka sa national team. Kapag nakapasok ka, may opportunities na for scholarships at ma-represent mo ‘yung country mo sa international competitions. So once na mag-start ka, magkakaroon ka ng goal na gusto mong ma-achieve. Mas gagalingan mo pa. May patutunguhan ang buhay.”

Her advice? “Dream high. Work hard. Kung may trials o challenges, never give up. Be open to ideas from other people. Sa akin, naging open ako sa advice tungkol sa strength and conditioning, rehab, nutritionist…’yun yung way para maging champion.”

For future Olympians

People of all ages can begin training in weightlifting, but athletes who want to compete in the Olympics must start young and dedicated themselves to the sport. Diaz herself got her start at just 11 years old.

“Ang naiisip ko ngayon, sino ang susunod sa akin? Sino ang magiging next Hidilyn Diaz ng Pilipinas?“ asked the Olympian.

To this end, the Hidilyn Diaz Weightlifting Open Championships is offering free registration for weightlifters 15 years old and below. Meanwhile, the Philippine Weightlifting Association will use the competition to scout for young talents whom they could develop for the national team.

“Masasabi ko nang narrating ko na ang pangarap ko para sa weightlifting kapag may sumunod na sa akin sa Olympics, at may mag-gold medal besides me,” says Diaz. “Sana ito na ‘yung simula.”

 

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The Hidilyn Diaz Weightlifting Competition will be held from July 8-9 at the Meralco Multipurpose Hall. To register, contact Affiliate Alliance or the UP Weightlifting Club.

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Ceej Tantengco is a reporter and writer for S+A. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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