Monday, October 25, 2021

Hidilyn Diaz: ‘A weightlifter with a green thumb’

FILIPINO sports heroine Hidilyn Diaz, together with her coach and boyfriend Julius Naranjo, left a lasting mark in their short holiday in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, by engaging in a tree activity at Bantug Lake Ranch on Granada-Alangilan Road on Saturday, September 11.

Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas President Monico Puentevella and his spouse Josefa invited the sports duo with his family and siblings Michael and Reeda Bantug. They hosted a sumptuous Al Fresco lunch for the prominent sports icon Hidilyn and coach Julius.

Diaz likes unripe mango dipped in "Bagoong" (shrimp paste) as her appetizer and chose from the buffet viands such as Bacolod's famous Chicken inasal, crispy pata, inihaw na Tilapia, spareribs, vegetables, and fruits, among others.

She also met the family of her sports official, Mr. Puentevella -- Nicky, Brian, Rocky, and Kalaw and their respective families.

Javi Benitez, son of businessman and politician Albee Benitez, who is also related to the Bantug family, who owns the ranch and was attending a separate meeting there, met the Olympic sports icon.

Tree planting

The Bantug Lake Ranch grounds will soon grow trees planted by Olympic sports icon Hidilyn Diaz and coach and boyfriend, Julius Naranjo.

Diaz said, "I love to plant trees because it helps preserve our environment. I want to nurture them until they grow. I have a green thumb. But, I am always outside of the country for my training and competitions," she said.

Honoring Hidilyn and coach Julius

Former Bacolod Councilor Kalaw Puentevella said, "We are honored and privileged that our lone Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz and coach Julius came here to our city.

It pays off the sacrifices of my Dad Monico even before her historic victory. The family has been cheering for her long before she earned her title in the recent Olympics. We are happy to receive her and coach Julius warmly, he said.

On the other hand, Javi Benitez said, "It is an honor to meet Ms. Hidilyn Diaz. We are proud of her. I hope next time she will also visit Victorias City. She has a great responsibility and a huge task to promote the sport of weightlifting in the country.

"She is an inspiration to the youth, and her historic achievement in sports is worthy of emulation by the young and fledgling athletes," Benitez also said.

Zonta Bacolod honors Hidilyn

The Zonta International: Bacolod Chapter, led by President Reeda Bantug and Area Director Josefa Puentevella, has recognized the Olympic sports icon Hidilyn Diaz for empowering women in sports held at Bantug Lake Ranch Bacolod City on September 11.

Diaz has proven the exceptional strength for winning the first gold medal for the Philippines in the prestigious 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.


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