Diaz’ coach celebrates outside circle

Antonio Agustin
STAR/File

TOKYO – Away from the din of celebration in the weightlifting arena, coach Antonio Agustin felt the joy, excitement and fulfillment of Hidilyn Diaz’s triumph.

“My masterpiece,” said Agustin of the Olympic gold winner whom he trained and coached from 2004 to 2017.

Agustin, a silver and bronze medal winner in three SEA Games participations in the 90s, is still part of the Philippine weightlifting team but not of Team Diaz.

He’s here as coach to Olympic weightlifting debutant Elreen Ando. They were to compete in the 64kg class at the Tokyo International Arena last night.

“Nag-start sila sa weightlifting buhat ang bamboo stick na gamit nila pangsalok ng tubig,” said Agustin of Diaz and the other kids that they trained in Zamboanga.

“Lahat ng kaalaman ko sa weightlifting itinuro ko sa kanila,” added Agustin.

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The Pinoy weightlifting coach stepped aside when the Samahang Weightlifting Pilipinas (SWP) brought in Chinese coach Gao Kaiwen.

Agustin acknowledged the great help of Gao.

“The plan was to train our athletes in China. Pero nag-usap kami ni Hidilyn na instead na pumunta sa China, mag-tap na lang ang federation natin ng Chinese coach,” Agustin said.

And things worked well, with the Chinese coach sharing all his knowledge to Diaz and not leaving the Pinay even at the height of the strongest surge of COVID in Malaysia.

Though left out of the Diaz circle and out of the limelight, Agustin harbors no hard feelings.

He’s happy for the champ. He feels part of history.

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