By Waylon Galvez
Two weeks after giving Team Philippines its first gold medal in the 18th Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games in Indonesia, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz is back at the gym to train for another important event.
Diaz is set to see action in this year’s World Weightlifting Championships (WWC) scheduled Nov. 1-10 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
“I did have enough rest after the Asian Games, but now I’m back because I have to train for the Worlds,” the 27-year-old Diaz told The Bulletin following her training session at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.
The event, which will take place where Diaz bagged a silver medal in last year’s Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG), will also serve as the first qualifying tournament for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Diaz said the world championship, similar to the Asian Games, is a tough competition although things could get tougher with the return of weightlifters from China and Kazakhstan – two countries back from suspension by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).
“The last Asian Games is like a world championship already, but with both Kazakhstan and China returning in the World Championships, it’s really going to be tough,” said Diaz.
Just like when she won the silver medal in the Rio Olympics in 2016, Diaz bagged the gold medal in the 53-kilogram women’s category in the last Asian Games, besting world championship silver medalist Kristina Sermetowa of Turkmenistan and Surodchana Khambao of Thailand.