MAYBE unknown to many but the country’s newest pride Hidilyn Diaz is also a resident of Angeles City and may launch a grassroots sports program with Mayor Carmelo Lazatin.
At the Balitaan media forum of Capampangan In Media Inc. and Clark Development Corporation, Lazatin said Diaz, now a source of pride for this city with her Olympic gold medal in weightlifting, has also a house in one of the middle-end housing villages here.
“We met in 2017 after she won a silver medal in Rio (Olympics) and she has been so kind to give us advise on how to lift weights properly,” Lazatin said.
Lazatin, who is also into powerlifting and iron-pumping, said in her previous meeting with Diaz, has discussed with her a grassroots program on sports, especially weightlifting, when he was still just a councilor. The proposal has faced setbacks as he belonged then to the minority group in the City Council.
As a mayor now, he said he would revive the program where he intends to allocate funds.
“We intend to train coaches, like trainers' training and then have this replicated in the barangay level. This is one sport where Philippines can haul medals as we don’t need height,” Lazatin said
He said he sent a Viber message to Diaz upon her arrival about pursuing the plan for which she expressed willingness.
“Alam naman po ninyo kung gaano ko kamahal ang Angeles (at Pampanga),” Lazatin quoted Diaz's reply in return.
Diaz, an enlisted personnel in the Philippine Air Force, is said to have either been assigned or frequented Clark, which is also considered one of the sporting destinations in the country.
Lazatin gave Diaz a P200,000 cash incentive for winning the gold medal in the 55 kilo class in women’s weightlifting in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics where she also established new Olympic records. The Angeles City Council has also conferred her recognition for bringing home a silver medal in 2016.