Hidilyn Diaz dominated the field to romp off with the gold medal in the women’s 55kg in the weightlifting competitions of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games before a wildly cheering crowd at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium on Monday.
The 28-year-old Zamboanga City native stamped her class early in the snatch category where she lifted 91kgs before pulling off 120kgs in the clean and jerk for a total of 211kgs to claim her first SEA Games gold since she first competed in the 2007 Games in Thailand.
Diaz nearly had a perfect evening by lifting five of six in the competition but she failed to get 94kgs in the snatch, which the pro-Filipino crowd easily dismissed even as a festive atmosphere pervaded over the proceedings to start off a new week.
Nguyen Thi Thuy of Vietnam settled for the silver with a total of 197kgs where she scored 82 in the snatch and 115kg in the clean and jerk to fall way behind.
Klarisa Juliana of Indonesia took the bronze by lifting a total of 175kgs.
But the night belonged to Diaz, who admitted feeling the weight of the Filipinos’ expectations which she used as a fuel to add her first SEA Games gold to her 2018 Asian Games conquest and 2016 Rio Olympics to her growing collection.
She later described the warm reception given to her by the crowd as “overwhelming.”
“Unang-una proud ako na naka-gold tayo sa isang international competition dito sa Pilipinas. Pero kinakabahan pa rin ako dahil hindi ko alam kung paano i-handle ang pressure ng ating mga kababayan. Pero nagpapasalamat ako dahil sa suporta ninyo nagawa ko ito ng tama,” Diaz said.
“Hindi ko alam kung paano i-control yung crowd pero they pushed me to do well. Kaya sana ipagpatuloy ninyo ang suporta.”
This early, Diaz is training her sights at an international tournament in Rome before resuming her training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualifiers.
“I lifted five out of six times kanina. Dapat makuha ko all six. I can still do better. Kaya yan. On to the Tokyo Olympics,” she said.
Meanwhile, Dave Lloyd Pacaldo and Ellen Rose Perez were not as lucky, as they both placed fourth in the men’s 61kg and women’s 49kgs events, respectively.
Pacaldo lifted 250kg to lose the bronze to Muhamad Aznil Bin Bidin (283kgs) in the event won by Irakan Eko of Indonesia (309kg), while Thach Kim Tuan of Vietnam (304kgs) took the silver.
Perez could only come up with 171kgs to miss the bronze by one against Ngo Thi Quyen of Vietnam (172kgs) in the event ruled by gold winner Aisah Windy of Indonesia (190 kgs) and Myanmar’s Phyo Pyae Pyae (180kgs) who took the silver.
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