BACOLOD

Puentevella: Diaz need not apologize

SAMAHANG Weightlifting ng Pilipinas (SWP) president Monico Puentevella said Wednesday, April 21, that there is no need for Rio Olympics Silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz to apologize after a failed podium finish in the recently-concluded Asian Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Diaz finished fourth place in the women's 55kg event after lifting 94 kilograms in the snatch, and 118 kilograms in the clean and jerk for a 212-kg total.

China's duo Qiuyun Liao and Yajun Li captured the gold and silver medals, respectively, as Muattar Nabieva of host-Uzbekistan gave her country the bronze medal.

"Hidilyn [Diaz] need not apologize. In the first place, our game plan was just to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. Not necessarily to win medals," Puentevella said.

Diaz still qualified for this year's Olympics.

"More than a year ago, she also won gold in the World Championship in Rome. And, this is only the Asian Championship which she also won several years ago in Thailand," the SWP chief lamented.

Puentevella also said that what is winning a medal for if Diaz gets injured in the process. "With only three months to go, this would be disastrous. Any medal now would not be worth the price of not competing in Tokyo."

"Secondly, now we know the strength of the favored Chinese lifter which we will meet in Tokyo. Hidilyn never gives up and she shall always do her best, especially in the Olympics," Puentevella added.

Barring any obstacle, Puentevella added that they are looking at another [Olympic} medal again. "If it's the elusive gold, to God be the glory. If not, silver or bronze will make her the most bemedalled Olympian in the history of this country."

"The last thing we need is to put pressure on her. As I always tell her, just do the best and let God do the rest. And, please remember, weightlifting is the only national sports association that has competed in four straight Olympics for this country with medal output. And, I assure you we shall have more lifters, too, in the Paris Olympics 2024," the weightlifting president said.


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