Freeman Cebu Sports


WRECKORDER - FGS Gujilde - The Freeman

It’s official. Hidilyn Diaz is not defending her Olympic gold in Paris. Technically though, there is nothing to defend, her 55kg Olympic title is hers forever. The division where she won the country’s inaugural gold has been scrapped. It forced her to move up to the 59kg class, against bigger Olympic contenders. Including a compatriot.

Cebuana Elreen Ando placed seventh in the final Olympic qualifying tournament in Thailand to book a ticket to Paris. Unfortunately, she qualified at the expense of priceless Diaz who finished eleventh. Only one weightlifter per country qualifies in any weight division. The 59kg class was crowded with two powerful Filipinas. Fortunately, it means the bench is deep. Even if we only refer to two women, they are hard to find in a country obsessed with pageantry. Context.

Hidilyn struggled in a heavier category against bigger weightlifters. But it looks like a breeze for Ando who competed at a much heavier 64kg in Tokyo. Hidilyn failed the cut and missed the record of appearing in five consecutive Olympics. Paris is not her place. Tokyo was. Los Angeles may no longer be. By then she will be 37.

She however vows to continue lifting. If not for herself, for the next generation of power lifters. No worries golden Hidilyn, you have done more than enough. You have reached what was once the unreachable for almost a century when the country pinned its hopes on the male athletes, especially the boxers.

They almost did it thrice. But Anthony Villanueva, Onyok Velasco and Carlo Paalam fell short. Another woman cracked the menopoly in Tokyo though. Nesthy Petecio fought for gold but lost. She is back in action to turn her silver into gold.

Hidilyn may now focus on other things that matter to her. Personally. It was reported she defended the thesis she wrote. Only a few may read it, but the entire country not only read but felt how she rewrote Philippine sports history to its pinnacle. She may now embark on the journey she always wanted. Motherhood. More than marriage. But since she married her coach, she has good chances to have both.

Let’s hope she is not one of a few women whose bodies are not meant to carry a child or give birth. Motherhood does not always start with pregnancy. Neither does it end in delivery. For, the one who raises a child is the mother, whether biological, adoptive or custodian. Even a man can be a mother. Again, context.

But Hidilyn is already a mother who belongs to a league of her own. She gave birth to the first and only Olympic gold of the country. While many mothers labored for hours, Hidilyn labored for years. With an absentee father. Be it the country or its sports program.

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