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Pinoy lifters on track

Hidilyn Diaz in training. (top) , Nestor Colonia. Abac Cordero

RIO DE JANEIRO – Nestor Colonia and Hidilyn Diaz both headed back to the Athletes Village after a two-hour training session happy and satisfied.

Inside Pavilion 2 of the Riocenter Convention Center, where weightlifters in this Rio Olympics train, the two Pinoy entries looked sharp.

They chased their own personal best and were close.

Colonia, who could have been a bodybuilder if not a weightlifter, was lifting 120 kilos in the snatch and 150 kilos in the clean and jerk.

They’re close to his best of 124 kg and 158 kg for a combined effort of 282 kg.

To earn a crack at a medal here, he needs to target 290 kg.

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“Konti na lang (A little more),” he said – if 20 kg to him means just a little more.

But Colonia is confident it can be done, saying that’s what he and Diaz have been working on for the past couple of years.

“Maganda ang training today (We had a good training today),” said Colonia, a 25-year-old who’s in his first Olympics.

Diaz, on the other hand, is in her third straight Olympics, and feeling much better now because she’d been coughing the last few days.

“I’m happy with today’s training,” said the 25-year-old Diaz, a native of Zamboanga like Colonia and their head coach, Alfonsito Aldanete.

The flag-bearer for the Philippine delegation during the 2012 London Olympics was lifting 85 kg in the snatch with ease during Friday’s training.

Just a few platforms to her left was her rival from South Korea.

“Nagtitinginan kami. Alam ko nasa 85 (kg) din siya kanina (We were glancing at each other. I can see that she was also working on 85 kilos),” said Diaz.

In the world rankings, Colonia and Diaz are both number four in the 56 kg and 53 kg divisions.

“Masaya si Hidi (Diaz) kanina sa training (She was happy during training). Parang nagbantayan sila nung karibal niya. (She and her rival were guarding each other),” said Colonia.

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