WHEN the going gets tough and she has to sacrifice so much in her training, Rio Olympics 2016 weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz bared that she only has to keep reminding herself about the reason behind what she's doing as an athlete.
"Medyo mahirap pero siguro I go back to why I'm doing this. I love the Philippines. I love weightlifting. Alam kong kaya kong manalo," Diaz, who hails from Barangay Mampang in Zamboanga City, said during the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) Webinar Series: Olympic Day Special aired live via POC Facebook Page on Monday afternoon, June 29.
Diaz, who has been stranded in Malaysia since the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic hit while in the thick of her Tokyo 2020 Olympics training preparations in Malaysia, said that since the Olympics has always been her goal, she wanted to better herself every time.
She was a wildcard entry in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and "did not finish" in the 2012 London Olympics where she was the flag bearer for the lean Philippine contingent.
"Nung 2012 nag-qualify (ako), nakakaproud first time kong mag-qualify, then flag bearer ako. Iba ang feeling na pinaghirapan mo. Long-term goal as an athlete, Olympic talaga goal ko naging flag bearer pero di maganda ang laro ko nag did not finish ako. Naka second time ako pero di pa nahasa mental toughness ko. Na pressure ako sa expectations ng Philippines. Masyadong mataas expectations ng Philippines at sarili ko, di ako nakapag-perform ng maayos," she said during the Olympic Day special hosted by Olympian swimmer Akiko Thomson Guevara.
Diaz, however, said there was more to her Rio Olympics silver medal that meets the eye, saying that people only saw the result but not how she attained it.
She continued, "Kasi yung iba nakikita lang yung excellence ng athlete pero yung preparation kailangan din nilang makita ang preparation -- diet, training, nine session, 12 sessions minsan, then syempre injuries."
The lessons she learned in 2012 fueled her determination to take her game
to a higher level.
"Naging inspiration ko yun gusto kong mag qualify sa Olympics pero gusto kong manalo parang level up diba. May natutunan ako sa 2012 at in-apply ko yun sa 2016," she added.
When asked about plans on settling down and having her own family after Tokyo Olympics, she was quick to reply that she has her mind only set for her fourth stint in the world's quadrennial meet.
"I have to prepare for Tokyo 2021, siguro after that saka kami magdecide para sa family," said Diaz, who enrolled back to resume her college studies online at College of St. Benilde.
She has recently started training with her team at the Kuala Lumpur Stadium.
Also guests during the webinar were International Olympic Committee member Mikee Cojuangco Jaworski and 1992 Barcelona taekwondo bronze medalist Stephen Fernandez.