Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo games, 30-year-old weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz is preparing for her fourth appearance at the Olympics in Malaysia.
The Filipino athlete has been there training ever since February of 2020.
Her chances to even qualify for the Toyko games seemed doubtful; Diaz missed a podium finish by the slimmest of margins at the Asian Weightlifting Championships in Uzbekistan.
A silver medalist in the 2016 Rio games, Diaz expects to do better this time around:
In fact, she set a new personal record this month in the Jerk with approximately 285 lbs:
Diaz will be one of the frontrunners to win gold, given her history at the games. But for the time being, she’s putting in the work to avoid falling short:
Her appearance in Tokyo will likely be Diaz’s last at the Olympics.
“I’m ready. I can’t say at what percent, but I’m there — my mind is there, my heart is there, physically it’s there,” Diaz told AFP.
As the only woman in the history of the Philippines to win an Olympic medal, the legacy of Diaz sits right there alongside that of boxer Manny Pacquiao in the country’s pantheon of sporting icons.