'Why not?': Hidilyn Diaz on continuing to compete after Olympics gold

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
'Why not?': Hidilyn Diaz on continuing to compete after Olympics gold
Philippines' Hidilyn Diaz gestures during the women's 55kg weightlifting competition during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo International Forum in Tokyo on July 26, 2021.

MANILA, Philippines — For many athletes, retiring becomes an immediate option when they reach the pinnacle of their sport -- whether it be a championship or a gold medal.

When it came to Philippines' own Hidilyn Diaz, that pinnacle was when she won the first-ever Olympic gold for the country during the Tokyo Summer Games in 2021.

But despite murmurs from other people to hang up her weights and retire, Diaz is continuing to push on — even until the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

In a recent press conference held by Summit Drinking Water, Diaz explained her decision to keep going.

And all of it could be summarized in one phrase: "why not?".

"Marami nang nagsasabi na 'Ay nanalo ka na ng gold medal, okay na yan, pwede na yan'. But as an athlete, we don't stop there," said Diaz.

"Alam kong kaya ko pa maglaro, alam kong kaya ko pang makipagsabayan sa ibang bansa. Bakit hindi?," she added.

Diaz has long been competing as a weight lifter, she's competed as early as the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.

And she already copped her first SEA Games gold medal in 2019 in Manila.

Still, the Zamboanga native continues to play in the hopes of inspiring the next generation.

"While playing and competing sa SEA Games, Asian Games, kahit anong competition pa yan, nandun pa rin, naglalaro ako dahil I want to give more awareness about my sport, about weightlifting, about women empowerment kaya nandito pa rin ako," she said.

As for what will signal her to end her career, Diaz says it is when she already sees someone promising that is following in her footsteps.

"Hangga't makita na may sumusunod na sakin, pwede kong sabihin na okay pwede na, magretire na ko at syempre kung nararamdaman ko nang hindi ko na kaya, okay, hindi na. Priority ko muna pamilya," she said.

Currently, there are already some up and coming young Filipina weightlifters like Olympian Elreen Ando and Vanessa Sarno.

Diaz's upcoming competition is the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi this May where she will look to nab another gold medal in the biennial competition.




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