Favorite Hidilyn Diaz wary of opponents
HANOI — Despite being favored to rule her event in the 31st Southeast Asian Games here, Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz is not looking past her competition.
Diaz, who will compete in the women’s 55kg category on May 20, said that she does not count any of her opponents out as there can always be a possibility of surprise. “Everyone of us can win a gold medal,” said Diaz. “I can’t cite names because all of us are doing our best to perform at the highest level. I can’t make any prediction since all athletes are capable of winning a gold medal,” she added.
The 31-year-old actually won her first gold medal just in 2019, when she ruled her division in the SEA Games held in Manila.
After having ended the Philippines’ gold medal drought in the Summer Games last year, it’s no wonder that the Zamboanga native is pegged as the favorite.
Still, she keeps to herself and is focused on training to get even better.
Though her competition is still more than a week away, Diaz is already in Vietnam to acclimate herself and get her final preparations going.
“I’ll train for one week here in Ho Chi Minh City to prepare myself,” she said.
There, Diaz is joined by Team HD — composed of head trainer and fiancé Julius Naranjo, nutritionist Jeaneth Aro, and sports psychologist Dr. Karen Trinidad.
Meanwhile, Diaz’s teammates in the weightlifting team fly to Hanoi on May 16 after they wrap up their training at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila.
Coming to compete in Hanoi are reigning Asian champion Vanessa Sarno, Olympian Elreen Ando, SEA Games gold medalist Kristel Macrohon, SEA Games silver medalist Margaret Colonia, Asian Championships silver medalist Mary Flor Diaz, and Rosegie Ramos.
The men’s side is represented by 2016 Rio Olympics bet Nestor Colonia, Fernando Agad, John Dexter Tabique, Rowel Garcia, John Kevin Padullo and Lemon Tarro.
Weightlifting events here will be held from May 19-22 at the Hanoi Sports Training and Competition Center. —