TO BE recognized as the best, Hidilyn Diaz knew she had to prevail in the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships.
And prevail she did. In a tour de force, the 31-year-old Olympic champion blew away the field in sweeping all three events in the IWF Worlds in Bogota, Colombia yesterday to finally collect the one medal color lacking in her impressive collection.
Ms. Diaz was nothing less than indomitable in breezing through the snatch, where she lifted 93 kilograms, clean and jerk with 114kg, for a combined total of 207kg. In the process, she added to her trophy case, which already includes titles in the Olympics, Asian Games, Asian Championships and Southeast Asian Games.
While it wasn’t as dominant as her effort in Tokyo where she had an electric 224kg total on a 97kg snatch and a 127kg clean and jerk, her performance in Bogota was nonetheless enough to take the win.
Colombian Rosalba Estela Aguila del Morales was at distant second with a 199kg (89kg snatch, 110kg clean and jerk) while Mexican Ana Gabriel Lopez Ferrer was third with 198kg (90kg, 108kg).
Along the way, Ms. Diaz earned precious qualifying points to the 2024 Paris Games, where she will be gunning for a second Olympic gold that could be her swan song.
It could be in Paris where Diaz seals her standing as one of the titans of the sport.
“She’s an outstanding athlete and Filipina,” an ecstatic Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas president Monico Puentevella yesterday told The STAR. “She’s got more chances now to go to Paris 2024.”
“She really has a heart of a champion,” he added.
Mr. Puentevella, who thanked President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. and the Philippine Sports Commission for the support, said Ms. Diaz’s performance should inspire the country and the rest of the national contingent in Bogota, including Olympian Elreen Ando and Asian and SEA Games titlist Vanessa Sarno.
“Her gold will inspire our other lifters coming up,” said Mr. Puentevella. — Joey Villar