After successful SEA Games mission, Hidilyn Diaz trains sights on 2020 Olympics
Hidilyn Diaz copped her first-ever gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games after ruling the women's 55kg weightlifting event on Monday. Toledo IV
After successful SEA Games mission, Hidilyn Diaz trains sights on 2020 Olympics
Luisa Morales ( - December 3, 2019 - 1:18pm

MANILA, Philippines — There's no time to rest for Philippine weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, who clinched her first-ever gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games on Monday.

With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics just around the corner, the 28-year-old isn't planning to waste any time.

Despite ruling the women's 55kg weightlifting event, Diaz sees a lot more room for improvement in her performance en route to her Olympic goal.

"Medyo nasa 85% [pa lang ako] sa Snatch. Clean and Jerk alam kong kaya ko. Sa Snatch, medyo hindi ko pa naayos technique ko," Diaz said of her gold medal-winning performance.

Diaz was unable to complete her third and final attempt in the Snatch lift yesterday, settling for a 91kg lift — two kilograms short of her 93kg final attempt.

But the 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist barely broke a sweat in the Clean and Jerk, with three successful lifts to record a competition-best 120kg. She brought her total to 211kg for the first-place finish.

No days off

Diaz will not be taking a break after adding a SEA Games gold accolade to her name. In fact, it's already back to the drawing board for the Filipina weightlifter.

"After this, tomorrow training na agad ako. Wala akong Christmas, wala akong new year... I can do it, kayang kaya sakripisyo para sa bayan," Diaz said on her plans after the win.

Still gunning for qualification in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Diaz will be competing as early as January next year in the Roma 2020 World Cup.

Diaz hopes to take a winning start to her 2020 campaign, after a productive and successful 2019 that saw her winning her first SEA Games medal, as well as clinching two bronze medals in the Weightlifting World Championships.

"Para sa akin, maganda ang 2019 ko. Ang laki ng naging progress ng training ko, technique ko, then right track kami towards Tokyo 2020," she said.

Drawing strength from supporters

Diaz clinched her first-ever SEA Games gold in front of a huge crowd of supporters in the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila on Monday.

Cheers and shouts would greet the weightlifter each time she went out.

She reiterated the importance of such support in her quest for a historic Olympic gold medal and how it inspires her to continue through struggles.

"Ako po ay nagpapasalamat sa inyong lahat, sa prayers, sa paniniwala na kaya ko," Diaz said.

"May mga times na nagdodoubt ako pero nandun po kayo, naniniwala parin po kayo para sakin," she added.

Diaz is one of the country's best hopes in clinching a first ever gold medal in the Olympics.

She also ended a two-decade long medal drought for the Philippines in the quadriennial meet in 2016 with her silver-medal finish.

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