Chinese weightlifting team upset with Hidilyn Diaz's Chinese coach for not tipping them off

Chinese weightlifting team upset with Hidilyn Diaz's Chinese coach for not tipping them off
Motorists drive by electronic billboards along EDSA in Mandaluyong and Makati cities on a rainy Tuesday morning, July 27, 2021 showing congratulatory messages for Olympian Hidilyn Diaz on her historic gold medal win in the women's 55 kilogram weightlifting at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — China's team in the weightlifting competition in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was upset with the Chinese coach of weightlifting champ Hidilyn Diaz for not tipping them off about the eventual gold medalist, she said Thursday. 

Speaking in an interview aired over ANC, the Zamboanga-born Olympic medalist said that the Chinese side did not expect her to lift as heavily as she did during the competition. 

Diaz dominated the women’s 55kg weightlifting competition in Tokyo to beat China's Liao Qiuyun and become the first Filipino athlete to bring an Olympic gold medal home. 

"The China team was a little angry with [my coach] because he didn't share where my strength was," she said in Filipino. 

"Of course Coach didn't share that with China...I thought ‘why would he share?’ He’s here to work for me and make me stronger. There are mixed feelings, with the political, international issue [with] our sea. While there’s no war, I was able to represent the Philippines and beat China."

She was referring to the still-brewing tensions over Philippine-owned territories in the West Philippine Sea, where Chinese vessels remain moored to this day despite the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague ruling in the Philippines' favor on the issue. 

Asked what ran through her mind as she hoisted her medal with the Philippine national anthem playing, Diaz said: "I thought, 'it's possible after all.' At one point I didn't think it was. But finally, I did it. I said, we Filipinos can do it after all."

But weightlifting coach Gao Kaiwen, though proud of his prized ward, could not be as proud after watching China fall to the Philippines. 

In an interview aired over state-run Chinese outlet Xinhua News was careful to praise Diaz but expressed mixed feelings over the loss of his compatriot. 

"It is not an easy job for a girl coming from a poor family of Zamboanga City, the Philippines, to keep up intense training at the age of 30," said Gao, who formerly coached the Chinese national women’s army team.

"It was a great pity to watch the athlete from my country take a silver," he added.

Diaz on Thursday also signaled her intent to compete in the Asian Games and the Southeast Asian Games. 




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