Hidilyn Diaz: Team China underestimated me

Joey Villar - Philstar.com
Hidilyn Diaz: Team China underestimated me
(From left to right) Silver medallist Liao Qiuyun of China, gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz and bronze medalist Zulfiya Chinshanlo of Kazakhstan stand on the podium for the victory ceremony of the women's 55kg weightlifting competition during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo International Forum in Tokyo on July 26, 2021.
Vincenzo Pinto / AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Weightlifting powerhouse China made one big mistake in the Tokyo Olympics — it underestimated Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz.

“Ang China ang tingin kasi sa akin hindi ko sila kayang talunin,” said the 30-year-old Diaz during an interview at One News’ “The Chiefs” Thursday night.

TRACKER: Hidilyn Diaz at the Tokyo Olympics

Diaz said she was hoping before the Tokyo Games that the Chinese would not enter anyone in her 55-kilogram class out of the five it will field in the women’s side. But they decided to enter Liao Quiyun anyway, knowing she had beaten Diaz in the Asian Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan last April.

Quiyun ran away with the gold in Tashkent with a total lift of 222kg while the heroine from Zamboanga City didn’t even make the podium and wound up fourth with only 212kg to show.

Liao and the Chinese had a surprise of their lives come Tokyo though as Diaz defied overwhelming odds and lifted 224kg to deliver the country’s breakthrough Olympic gold.

“China dapat limang women ipapasok kaya umaasa kami sana hindi dalhin yung isa sa body weight ko,” said Diaz. “Pero nung naglabas ng listahan, andoon kalaban ko lang kaya inisip ko na lang kaya ko siya talunin.”

“For the sixth qualifying competition (Tashkent), kailangan naming laruin. Hindi ko siya tinatalo kasi yung sa akin mababa lang total pero ngayon naging 224, nag-improve ako 10kgs (12kgs),” she added.

And beating a traditionally strong China, which already raked in four gold in the sport at press time, makes everything sweeter.

“Sa akin kasi ang talunin ang China ay isa sa pinakamahirap gawin, kasi China ang powerhouse sa weightlifting kaya isang napakalaking karangalan sa akin natalo ko China at nagkaroon pa ng Olympic record,” she said.

Diaz also revealed that China got mad at her Chinese coach Gao Kaiwen for not spilling the beans on how powerful she had become.

“Sabi ni coach nagtampo sa kanya,” said Diaz referring to Gao. “Nagmessage kasi sa group chat nila, sabi ni coach Gao hindi naman daw sila nagtanong, ‘bakit nagtanong ba kayo?’”

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