HIDILYN Diaz’s successful stint in Rio Olympics could mean the revival of the once vibrant weightlifting scene in Cebu City.
The 25-year-old Olympic silver medalist Diaz will come home to a hero’s welcome from the Filipinos who have been longing for a medal and a P5-million incentive from the Philippine Government.
In Cebu City, weightlifters are now looking forward to seeing more local tournaments and weightlifting programs as the sport is showing more potential of winning the country its first gold medal in the Summer Olympic Games than boxing used to promise.
“Very inspiring. It only means that our athletes are at par with others. This should encourage our athletes to take up the sport (weightlifting) and seriously train for future competitions. With the new PSC’s commitment to help develop grassroots athletes, the future looks bright for discovering potential winners,” said Cebuano lawyer Baldomero Estenzo, who is also the brains behind the creation of the Cebu Weightlifting Association (CWA) back in 2012.
CWA was largely responsible for holding the Fessap 1st National Students Weightlifting Championship in 2012 here in Cebu City that was participated by more than 100 student competitors.
University of Cebu weightlifting coach Danny Catingub, who is also a member of the Philippine Weightlifting Association technical/jury committee believed that Diaz’s win will change the outlook of the Cebuanos towards the sports.
“It would be a milestone in weightlifting in achieving the first Olympic silver medal in Women’s Division for the Philippines. Hoping that in the next Olympic Games, we could duplicate or even win the gold medal. It is also best for Cebu, because people here are not giving any attention to one sport that is easy to identify the potential champion athlete. Hopefully, Diaz’s silver medal could inspire officials and athletes to revive weightlifting enthusiasm in Cebu,” Catingub told Sun.Star Cebu.
“I see the potential on Elreen Ann Ando, a Grade 9 student of UC. Only on her third year into the sport, but already a record holder in the Philippine Youth. Her record is like the Junior’s record. Angayan lang gyud nga paduwaon siya sa gawas (international), Regionals and Continental championship para maanad sa (so she’ll get used to the) international arena,” added Catingub.
“As an athlete, (Diaz) is our inspiration. And as a weightlifter, I also dreamed to become an Olympian who bring the name of our country. Now that Hidilyn has won the medal, we can also dream of reaching what she has done. We are thankful for her and Nestor Colonia for bringing back the honor of the Philippine Weightlifting team. As a member of the Philippine National Team based in Cebu, I will try my best to become another Hidilyn Diaz,” the 17-year-old member of the Team Cebu City weightlifting.
But before Diaz won the silver medal for the Philippines, the Cebu City Sports Commission under the leadership of Chairman Edward Hayco had tried to put back weightlifting into the veins of the Cebuano athletes.
The monthly Bakbakan sa Sugbu and the annual Summer Grassroots Training Program already has weightlifting in it.
“We always believed (that) weightlifting is one of our best chance for an Olympic medal. Our grassroots program was focused on weightlifting at the barangay level. We have the magic formula because of the presence of our extraordinary coaches in the likes of Mon and Gary. By magic formula, we mean the support from the city was effective because of the presence of he dedicated coaches,” Hayco elaborate.