Hidilyn Diaz
Joey Mendoza
Diaz disheartened, relieved over postponement
Dante Navarro (The Philippine Star) - March 27, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — She has put virtually everything on hold to ensure an unhampered preparation for a crack at a coveted berth in the Tokyo Olympics. But with the International Olympic Committee resetting the Games for next year due to the COVID-19 outbreak, lifter Hidilyn Diaz felt all her efforts had just gone to waste.

“I can’t deny the fact that I am disappointed with the postponement since I left everything on hold for this Olympics, including school, family and friends,” said Diaz, who became the first Filipina athlete to deliver an Olympic silver medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

But with health experts saying the world is approaching coronavirus tipping point, the Zamboanga City native could only pray for those fighting to prevent the spread of the disease worldwide while consoling herself of the positives that the delay would serve her well.

“I cannot be selfish thinking of all the sacrifices I have done in the preparation for the Olympics without thinking of the frontliners who are risking their lives to save people who are affected with the virus,” she said.

“On the positive note, I’m relieved not to worry that I can’t hold the barbell and do heavy weights for the last couple of days because of quarantine and will have one more year to prepare for the Olympics,” Diaz said.

Diaz is one of the best bets to end the country’s gold medal drought in the Olympics although the likes of gymnast Carlos Yulo, pole vaulter EJ Obiena and boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno have gone ahead of the champion lifter by claiming spots in the Tokyo Games through their respective qualifiers before the coronavirus outbreak.

Diaz was actually set to compete in the Ibero American Open in Colombia slated this week but organizers barred participants from Europe and Asia due to the COVID-19 threat.

The six-day event would’ve been Diaz’s last of the six required International Weightlifting Federation-sanctioned events for her to officially book a slot to Tokyo.

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