Lifter blames training woes for debacle

- Gerry Carpio - The Philippine Star

LONDON – The weather may have been a factor but weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz said her lack of preparation and training was the main reason she could not have even reached the 12-woman final of the 58kg class in weightlifting in the 30th Olympic Games.

For the first time in a four-year career, Diaz failed to lift 118kg in the clean and jerk in three attempts and fell out of the competition with a zero score.

“I was promised training in China. I waited and waited but my training never took place during the last four years,” said Diaz.

“My coach (Tony Agustin) said I could improve five kilos a year and will be able to contend for the medal in London but he said (in 2010) the chances of training in China appeared dim because the memorandum of agreement between China and the Philippines was not signed,” said Diaz.

The MOA was shelved indefinitely following disputes between Manila and Beijing over the Spratlys. Some sports events, like the scheduled visit of a Chinese team led by Yao Ming in Manila, were also cancelled last year at the height of the Spratlys issue. Almost all training arrangements with China earlier before the escalation of the Spratlys row were cancelled, prompting the PSC to recall some athletes already being trained in China.

She said she stopped her training in 2010 but she was made to decide by her coach if she wanted to train in China or continue her studies.

“So I put my studies on hold. We waited but coach said the prospects of a China training were dim and I just had to train in the Philippines,” she said.

Trained by her coach using the China module, she made some improvements in the 2010 Asian Games and 2011 SEA Games where she took the bronze. But it was not enough for the Olympics.

“If we went to China, we could have surpassed our opponents. Last September I defeated a Chinese with whom I trained in China and her coach was surprised at my improvement last 2011. Kaya lang last year the girl from Chinese Taipei also improved, grabe rin ang training nila kaya tinalo nila ako uli,” Diaz said.

“She said training in China is rigid and comprehensive, as it includes physical training and nutrition, while in the Philippines her coach is also her nutritionist, physical therapist and doctor.

“Kung minsan my coach tells me what food I should not eat. We don’t have a nutritionist and we have to rely on the little things we know of the proper diet that could apply to our sport,” she said.

And it took a chiropractor to tell her the reason she can’t lift heavyweights is her weak back.

“The chiropractor told me he will consult a friend in Canada to see how I can strengthen my back,” she said.

But Diaz, 22, is not giving up. She knows she is among the youngest among the Olympic competitors in London, and the big guns in the event will soon retire.

She is still good for three Olympics and her boyfriend in Zamboanga is willing to wait another 10 years so she could fulfill her dream of winning an Olympic medal.

“I certainly would like to compete in 2016. My boyfriend said we could defer our marriage for 10 years if that’s what it takes to win a medal. Siyempre alam niya ang hirap at pangarap ko,” she said.

For Hidilyn, the road to Rio starts as soon as she gets back to Manila.

“I’ll take some rest. After that, we shall start again,” she said.

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