Thankful Hidilyn Diaz ready to move on with life after weightlifting

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
Thankful Hidilyn Diaz ready to move on with life after weightlifting
Philippines' Hidilyn Diaz 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.
AFP / Vincenzo Pinto

MANILA, Philippines – “Winning is not everything.” 

After failing to make it to this year’s Paris Olympics, Filipino Olympic gold medal weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz said that she will spend some time with her loved ones, and learn some new skills. 

Last week, during the International Weightlifting Federation World Cup in Phuket, Thailand — the final Olympic qualifying event for the Paris Olympics — Diaz notched 99 kilograms for snatch and 123 kilograms for clean and jerk, which put her total at 222 kilograms.

It was not enough for Diaz to crash into the top 10 of the event and the top 10 of the Olympic Qualification Ranking. 

“I realized what is forever: and it is not fame, not money, not even winning or losing. But God, family, and real friends. These are my forever. Thank you for your heartfelt messages of love and support,” she posted on Facebook. 

“Winning is not everything; It is being on the platform and taking on the challenges that give inspiration to other athletes. Thank you to the athletes who messaged me and said that I inspired them. I served and will continue to serve my purpose in weightlifting, as I inspire many athletes to dream high, take the challenge, and work hard to achieve their dreams and never give up. Just lift! You can do it,” she added. 

Diaz rose to the 59 kilogram category of the women’s division, from the 55 kilogram category she dominated in the Tokyo Olympics.

Fellow Filipino weightlifter Elreen Ando, on the other hand, is expected to punch her ticket to the Olympics after notching 100 kilograms for snatch and 128 kilograms for clean and jerk, good for 228 total kilograms.

“The Olympics and weightlifting are not my everything. I sacrificed a lot of my time to train and sometimes I forget to enjoy the process because I am caught with the high expectations and high pressure of being an elite athlete,” Diaz said. 

“This moment is for me to learn new skills — join classes and workshops to learn to cook and bake. I have long wanted to take culinary courses since I was 22 years old, and now, I will not just imagine doing pasta, pizza, and kare-kare, I will bake and cook some for my friends and family,” she added.
“I will also learn to do business and invest myself in education to be a better sports leader. I have a lot of things to learn in life. This is #FamilyTime, I will be spending time with my family, Ninongs & Ninangs, and my friends. Together, we’ll make memories and enjoy the time with them.”

The 33-year-old weightlifter also bared that she and her husband, Julius Naranjo, will do a fundraising weightlifting 101 for grassroots and the HD Weightlifting Academy.
She also voiced her faith in God as she ended her long message.

“The result was not according to what I wanted and planned. But Thy will be done. It was not my day and #Paris2024 is not for me… It’s the end of my #Paris2024 Olympic journey, I will still lift, continue to lift, and inspire young Filipino Athletes to become Olympic champions,” Diaz stressed.

“I truly believe God has a better plan. I trust Him and for now, because of my love for God, weightlifting, my country and for all of you… I will continue to LIFT everything - all in God’s hands!!!"

Last week, Diaz told AFP that she will "still lift," but bared she is unsure for the 2028 Los Angeles Games. 

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