Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz clinched a spot in the Olympics by participating in the Asian Weightlifting Championship in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on Sunday evening.
Diaz, a silver medalist in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, barely missed the podium in the Tashkent event and settled for fourth place after lifting a total of 212 kilograms, 94 in the snatch, and 118 in the clean and jerk.
But the result hardly mattered as her appearance alone would suffice to seal her spot in the Olympics.
She said she has the government and private sectors to thank for after they provided her the needed help to keep her Tokyo Olympic bid alive especially amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I am so thankful to the private sector that helped me like last year, we first thought we would not survive our stay in Malaysia,” Diaz said in an interview with Noel Ferrer on Instagram, right after she formally clinched a spot in the Olympics.
Diaz decided to hold her training camp in Kuala Lumpur, but her stay in the Malaysian capital has been prolonged by the pandemic.
One group that she expressed her gratitude to is the MVP Sports Foundation, that according to her, has remained steadfast in providing for her needs.
Diaz also thanked the Philippine Sports Commission for continuously helping her and her team despite the challenges of the pandemic that even forced the agency to lend some of its budget to the government’s Covid-19 response.
She thanked the Philippine Air Force for clearing her to participate in the Asian tilt.
Currently in the Top 8 in the women’s 55-kilogram category, Diaz only needs to join six events to book an Olympic berth, which she achieved by joining the Asian championship.
Other Tokyo-bound Filipino athletes include pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo, and boxers Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, Eumir Marcial, and Irish Magno.*PNA