Diaz recalls ‘Team HD’ rollercoaster ride

The Philippine Star
Diaz recalls âTeam HDâ rollercoaster ride
The Philippines' Hidilyn Diaz (C) reacts after placing first in 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 — The first gold medal for the Philippines was the product of all the hard work Hidilyn Diaz and “Team HD” put together the past two years leading up to the Tokyo Olympics.

Diaz said she is forever grateful for winning the gold medal in the 55kg women’s weightlifting.

But looking back, she said that it was all about the journey that started when she placed ninth overall in one of the qualifying meets for the Tokyo Olympics, the 2018 World Weightlifting Championship in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

“For me, for ‘Team HD,’ we’ll always look back sa mga pinagdaanan namin. Hindi naging madali, may mga doubts nung start ng journey, pero hindi kami nag-give up,” said Diaz.

“Of course, hindi makakalimutan yung saya nung nanalo na, pero yung ginawa naming paghahanda ng ilang taon, hindi ko makakalimutan talaga. Tapos nanalo ako ng gold medal – ito ang naging bunga ng pagod, hirap at sakripisyo para sa bayan.”

The members of the “Team HD” are Chinese mentor Gao Kaiwen, strength and conditioning coach Julius Naranjo, sports nutritionist Jeaneth Aro and psychologist Dr. Karen Trinindad.

Prior to the Tokyo Olympics, the journey of “Team HD” was featured in a four-part documentary series on the Facebook page of Kick-Start Coffee Brewed Awakening entitled “Let’s Go HD!”

The documentary series allowed the Zamboanga City native to do a “video diary” done in a free flowing and heartfelt videos where it showed glimpse of the struggles, the highs and lows of her in training in Malaysia during the pandemic.

“I hope to inspire a lot of Filipino people (with the documentary). That’s the purpose… malaman ng mga kapwa natin Pilipino kung ano yung naging journey ko and sana ma-inspire sila,” said the 30-year-old Diaz.

Diaz set two Olympic records on her way to a victorious campaign in the Games – her successful lift at 127kg on her third and last attempt at clean and jerk, and her total of 224 kg.

She bested China’s Liao Qiuyun, the world record holder who finished at 223kg following her 97kg in snatch and 126kg in clean and jerk to earn a silver medal, and Kazakhstan’s Chinshanlo Zulfiya, who placed third for the bronze with a total of 213kg – 90kg in snatch and 123kg in clean and jerk.

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