LIFE has, indeed, changed for this lady, whose weightlifting skills started when her task in the family was to fetch water, carrying pails that approximate her weight.
Hidilyn Diaz, the toast of Philippine sports for her weightlifting silver medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, has earned millions and a house and lot—not to mention endorsements—for her achievement.
But the lady from Barangay Mampang in Zamboanga City has other responsibilities, which she comfortably carries out.
Diaz has been visiting schools to give inspirational talks to students, telling them about the hardships she has gone through before her Olympic feat, and stressing on the importance of education even for successful athletes like her.
She plans to enroll at College of Saint Benilde for a Business Management degree and, as important, build a weightlifting gym in Mampang to create a lasting legacy from her Olympic medal.
“I see a lot of potential from aspiring weightlifters in Mampang, and even in the whole country. So I can say that the future is bright for the Philippines in weightlifting,” the 25-year-old Diaz said.
“I already bought a lot in Mampang for the gym. Only the minute details are left to be worked out for the gym to be operational,” she added.
Tokyo 2020 is four years away, and Diaz has focused on shooting for the gold medal.
“I’m eyeing to go up to 58 kg,” said Diaz, who competed in her first Olympics in the same weight category in Beijing 2008. In Rio she saw action in the 53 kg class.
“But for now, I don’t want to exhaust myself, since it’s still a long way to go for the 2020 Olympics. There is a right time for that, and I know that if I will sacrifice and start working hard, it should be for the Olympics, because it’s every athlete’s target, because it’s the hardest and biggest competition,” she said.
For the meantime, the holidays beckon and like every other Filipino, Diaz wants to celebrate Christmas with her family.
Image credits: Nonoy Lacza