Tolentino tells Diaz: Don’t say sorry

The Philippine Star
Tolentino tells Diaz: Don�t say sorry
Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo and Abraham Tolentino
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — It was an emotional moment: Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino consoling in his arms the country’s first Olympic gold medalist, Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo.

“You’re still the queen,” Tolentino told Diaz-Naranjo who only minutes before saw her name outside the magic 10 that qualified to the Paris Olympics.

“You are still our champion, you deserve all the honor and respect for giving our country its first gold medal,” Tolentino added.

Three years ago at the pandemic delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Diaz delivered the country’s first Olympic gold medal inside the Tokyo International Forum.

Last Wednesday in Phuket, Diaz-Naranjo, competing in a weight division three kilos heavier that -56 kgs where she won gold in Tokyo, wound up 11th in the International Weightlifting Federation World Cup, the last qualifier for Paris.

It wasn’t a big surprise though, Diaz-Naranjo missing a fifth straight Olympics and another shot at the gold because -59 kgs wasn’t fit to her physique.

“’I’m sorry, Cong, I’m sorry,’ she repeatedly told me,” said Tolentino, who as the national sports association head for cycling when Diaz-Naranjo made her Olympic debut as a 17-year-old in Beijing 2008, started following the Zamboanga City pride’s rise to glory every step of the way.

“You don’t have to say sorry, again, anak, you’re still the queen, a legend,” Tolentino told Diaz-Naranjo.

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