MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines would have had one less gold in the 2018 Asian Games had Filipina weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz jumped on her thought to quit.
"[G]usto ko na mag-retire sa pagiging atleta kasi ang dami kong sinakripisyo at ayoko na sanang balikan ulit," said Diaz during her hero's welcome at the Philippine Air Force gym in Pasay, City on Wednesday, August 29.
(I already wanted to retire as an athlete because I sacrificed a lot and I didn't want to go back there again.)
Unknown to many, the pride of Zamboanga City is not just a full-time weighlifter.
She was an Airwoman First Class in the Air Force before she was promoted to Sergeant, but she had to take a leave of absence to focus on her Asiad stint and Business Management studies at the College of Saint Benilde.
Time with family, friends and her boyfriend also had to be sacrificed.
To add to that, Diaz had to resist eating her favorite food like pizza, cheesecake, milk tea and the like to maintain her deadly form. (READ: I miss cheesecake! Hidilyn reveals sacrifice on path to glory)
But with a mission to represent the Philippines in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics – and possibly win the elusive gold medal – the 27-year-old had to put her retirement plans on hold.
"[G]usto ko dalhin ang Pilipinas sa Olympics ulit. Then 'yung ibang mga bata, madala ko din sa Olympics sila, makita nila na through weightlifting, maiuuwi natin ang medalya na hinahangad natin."
(I want to represent the Philippines in the Olympics again. Then I want to help kids reach the Olympics and make them realize that through weightlifting, we can bring home what we have been hoping to win for a long time.)
Diaz currently has a weighlifting gym in her hometown for promising talents to learn under her tutelage.
"Mahal ko ang weightlifting at gusto kong ibigay sa mga bata kung ano ang nakamit ko through weightlifting," she added.
(I love weightlifting and I want to give the kids what I achieved through the sport.)
"Dahil sa weightlifting, nagkaroon ako ng trabaho sa Philippine Air Force. Dahil sa weightlifting, nandito ako ngayon at nirerepresenta ang Pilipinas."
(Because of weightlifting, I have a job in the Philippine Air Force. Because of weightlifting, I am representing the Philippines.)
Diaz will begin her journey to the 2022 Olympics in the World Weightlifting Championships in Turkmenistan in November. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.