Hidilyn Diaz ready to seize Tokyo Olympic berth
Hidilyn Diaz during the 30th Southeast Asian Games
Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV

Hidilyn Diaz ready to seize Tokyo Olympic berth

Joey Villar (Philstar.com) - January 18, 2021 - 3:40pm

MANILA, Philippines – Barring any more postponements related to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2016 Rio Olympics weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz will officially claim her spot to the Tokyo Games by April.

Diaz, 28, will need to just step on the mat in the Olympic qualifying event set April 15-25 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan to advance to the quadrennial games slated July 23 to August 8 and join gymnast Caloy Yulo, pole-vaulter EJ Obiena, and boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno regardless of the outcome.

This is because Diaz is practically assured of one of the eight slots in the women’s 55-kilogram division as she is currently ranked second in the world.

What is preventing her from qualifying is that she only joined five of the required six International Weightlifting Federation-sanctioned events to officially advance.

And completion of the final hurdle was denied her following a series of postponements last year due to the global health malady.

“After waiting for more than a year, Hidilyn will have her last Olympic qualifying event this coming April 15-25 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan,” said Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas president Monico Puentevella.

And Diaz is on course of matching, if not surpassing, the silver she snared in Rio as she was one of the few who has never stopped training after being stranded in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where she has worked out since due to the lockdown.

“Thanks to the support of the Philippine Sports Commission through chairman Butch Ramirez and commissioners, Malaysia gave her (Diaz) proper gym equipment,” said Puentevella.

But Diaz is not the only who has a chance of making it to Tokyo as a group headed by Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Kristel Macrohon and Rio veteran Nestor Colonia is joining Diaz in Tashkent.

Also shooting for the stars are John Ceniza, Elreen Ando and Maryflor Diaz.

“We have five lifters who are eligible for their last hurrah in Uzbekistan and might just pull off some surprises too,” said Puentevella.

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