Diaz dazzles, shatters weightlifting record; Torres reigns

- Olmin Leyba () - May 31, 2012 - 12:00am

DUMAGUETE CITY - While her bid for a slot to the London Olympics is still up in the air, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz busied herself improving and breaking records as she put on another display of sheer strength and balance in the POC-PSC National Games at the Lamberto Macias Coliseum here.

Diaz, who's still awaiting word from the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) if she'll make it to London, wowed the good-sized crowd assembled at the lobby of the coliseum with her nearly-effortless romp in the women's open 58-kg division.

The pride of Zamboanga lifted 96 kgs in snatch and 123 kgs in clean and jerk for a total of 219 kgs, resetting the old standards of 95-122-217 she herself set in placing fourth in last month's Asian Championships- Continental Olympic Qualification Event in Pyeongtaek, Korea.

"I really expected to break the record since I've been making good lifts during training," the 21-year-old Diaz, a campaigner in the 2008 Games, said in Filipino.

Her fellow Beijing Olympian, long jump queen Marestella Torres did not go on a record spree but nonetheless gave a pretty decent show in the track events over at the Perdices Sports Complex, where nationals Henry Dagmil (men's long jump) and Danilo Fresnido (men's javelin throw) also got their expected places in the podium.

London-bound Jessie King Lacuna breezed through his third gold medal - boys' 19-over 200 meter freestyle (1:57.13) - to lead the Day 2 winners in aquatics at the nearby Lorenzo Teves Aqua Center.

Quezon City and host Negros Oriental likewise sparkled with five-mints apiece in the morning pool sessions of the sportsfest organized by POC and PSC and backed by Smart Communications, Standard Insurance, Accel, Summit Mineral Water, AKTV, Ayala Corporation, Puregold Price Club, Scratch it! Go for Gold, SM Investments Corp., 2Go, Pocari Sweat, The Philippine STAR, and Cebu Pacific.

Franz Joves (girls' 7-10 50m butterfly, 40.10), Delia Cordero (girls' 17-18 50m free, 31.00), Pricila Loren Aquino (girls 15-16 200m breast, 2:59.88), Denjylie Cordero (girls' 19-over 200m breast, 2:42.98) and the quartet of Aquino, Wina Isabelle Tecson, Ronalyn Lalimo and Franchesca Joves (girls' 11-over 200m freestyle medley) delivered for QC.

Seventh placer in the 2011 world championships, Phl strongwoman Diaz is bidding to make it to London. She did not secure a slot during the Asian Qualifiers, which awarded berths on basis of "team points" but would instead try her luck in the "individual places" that the IWF is expected to allocate by next month.

Diaz is stands at a high sixth in the world as per IWF's 2012 ranking.

"I would love to compete in London. I've made sacrifices for the sport, like putting my studies on hold, and the Olympics will be my sort of reward," she said.

Unlike her, Torres' place in London has already been secured as the San Jose, Negros Oriental pride has met the "B" Olympic-qualifying standard (6.65m) with her 6.71m winning jump in the Indonesia SEA Games.

Flaunting fine form amid overcast skies, the 31-year-old Laguna bet made a routine 6.58m on her last jump to leave behind double-gold medalist Katherine Santos of Baguio (6.19m) and teammate Mildred Salut (5.51m), who was splitting her time with long jump and heptathlon's high jump play.

"This is part of my training for the Olympics. They may say I have no real opposition here but what I want is to maintain my fitness level," said Torres, fresh from conquest in the Asian Grand Prix a couple of weeks ago in Thailand.

"I'm at about 80 percent right now and I have two months more to hopefuly get 'super fit' for the Olympics," she added.

Dagmil, the PNG's sprint king, was hardly challenged in copping the men's long jump plum in 7.71m over PAF-HyperSports' Benigno Marayag (7.37m) and Joebert Delicano (7.29m).

Fresnido, a former SEAG javelin champ, had to make 64.47m on his final heave to dodge the upset axe aimed by PAF HyperSports' Gutl Pido (63.03m). Run for Change's Kenny Gonzales was third with 61.25m.

In billiards at the Dumaguete Convention Center, Zemonette Oryan came all the way from the loser's bracket to nip erstwhile unbeaten Mary Ann Basas in a hill-hill finale, 9-8, and pocket the women's 9-ball tiara.

Luis Saberdo rose to the men's 9-ball throne via an easy 11-4 disposal of Bennie Louie Dayrit.

Over at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium in Manila, the National Team and the Phl Youth Team arranged a title showdown in baseball after crushing their respective semis rivals.

The Nationals waylaid University of Sto. Tomas, 13-3, while Phl Youth clouters trounced Rizal Technological U, 16-4.

Notes: Weightlifting officials were surprised by the relatively big crowd present in their competitions at the lobby of Lamberto Macias Coliseum. "This is a first time a weightlifting tournament is held here. Maybe they got curious how the sport is played. Those who were supposed to go inside the coliseum for the basketball games just stayed in the lobby to watch our weightlifters," said Philippine Weightlifting Association exec Mark Alino. " We hope this will encourage Dumaguete to put up a weightlifting club so they can compete in future competitions." ... Cerilo Tavares is showing that there's no age limit in sports. A ripe 73, Tavares from Sitio Mangga, Punta Princesa defies Father Time as he plays outfielder for Wired Nook-Cebu, which recently dropped its first loss to SIT Cebu, 4-3, in men's softball at Sibulan Elementary School. Tavares, according to Asaphil executive director Jun Veloso, is not only the most senior participant in this PNG but also the oldest active softball player in the world.

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