With her golden achievement in the Tokyo Olympics, Hidilyn Diaz said she is not done yet.
There are still a lot of competitions out there waiting to be conquered.
And there’s a younger generation of weightlifters that are set to come out and prove themselves, needing inspiration and a role model to look up to.
“Hindi pa ako magsta-stop, kasi nakikita ko pa iyung galing ko. Kasi, kaya ko pa. Alam ko, may ibibigay pa ako sa Pilipinas,” said the 30-year-old weightlifter a day after coming up with Olympic record-setting marks that allowed her to deliver the country’s first gold in the Summer Olympic Games at the Tokyo International Forum on Tuesday evening.
“Hindi puwede na after winning, susuko na ako. I still have to continue lifting, and inspire the young generation to still dream. Kung wala na ako duon, baka bumaba ang standard ng sport. Kaya kailangan, tuluy-tuloy lang hanggang mayroon nang susunod sa akin,” said Diaz.
She discussed her experience a few days before Diaz and her support group Team HD leaves home for the Philippines.
Team HD includes Diaz’s Chinese coach Gao Kaiwen and strength and conditioning specialist Julius Naranjo. Later, sports nutritionist Jeaneth Aro and sports psychologist Dr. Karen Trinidad came aboard.
Diaz said she is still unsure she will make it to the 2024 Olympics.
“Natatakot ako for Paris, pero tinitingnan ko nga,” said Diaz.
According to Diaz, there is quota limit for the 2024 Games, set at 120.
“Alam ko mahirap mag-qualify. Pero kapag ang lakas ko ay nandoon, tuloy pa rin,” said Diaz.
Diaz, a staff sergeant with the Philippine Air Force, now stands to receive more than P33 million in cash incentives, aside from housing units and land from sponsors.
Under Republic Act 10699, the government the Philippine Sports Commission is set to give out a cash incentive of P10 million to gold-medal winners in the Olympics.
The MVP Sports Foundation of telecommunications executive Manny V. Pangilinan pledged P10 million for Filipino gold medal winners, and so did San Miguel Corporation through businessman Ramon Ang.
Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero also promised an additional P3 million for gold medalists, while Philippine Olympic Committee president Rep. Abraham Tolentino is donating a house and lot in Tagaytay City.
Meanwhile, Andrew Tan of Megaworld is offering a P14-million condominium unit in Eastwood City.
In March last year, Diaz moved to Malaysia to train but she got stuck there after COVID-19 lockdowns went into effect. She has not seen her family since 2019.