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Diaz targets bronze in world meet

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No less than a bronze medal will be Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz’s target when she competes in the world championships late this year in Anaheim, California.

“Dapat bronze,” said Diaz yesterday at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex where she turned over her precious medal and competition gear to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for temporary safekeeping.

A replica of her medal will be displayed after the PSC relocates the sports museum to a new venue, according to chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez.

“We will cherish it. Her medal is a precious jewel. It’s the pearl of Philippine sports,” said Ramirez, who assured the 26-year-old Zamboanga City native of the government’s all-out support.

Diaz had made a sacred vow to President Rodrigo Duterte that she will pursue her dream of winning an Olympic gold medal when Tokyo takes its turn in hosting in 2020.

Proof of Diaz’s commitment is her decision to cut down on the number of units at St. Benilde where she is taking a course in Business Management.

From 15 units, it is now down to nine so Diaz can spend more time training.

“I am training six days a week,” she said, admitting that her first big test following the Olympics is this September’s fifth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

The opposition in Turkmenistan is formidable, insists Diaz.

“They would all be there,” she said, noting that the caliber of rivals in the AIMAG will be near the standard of the Olympics.

Still, Diaz says she is not turning her back on her studies, adding “it has been my life-long dream to get a college degree.”

Ramirez, aware of Diaz’s wish, is fully supportive.

“This is the reason why we at the PSC are providing her with everything she needs as no less than the President told us to guard her.”

Besides, the road to the Olympics will be rocky as Diaz has to maintain her lofty status with the Asian Games in Indonesia taking place in 2018.

But, one thing is certain, says Diaz.

“Tokyo is on my mind,” she said.

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Written by Nick Giongco

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epa05462724 Hidilyn Diaz of the Philippines celebrates on the podium after winning the silver medal in the women's 53kg category of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Weightlifting events at the Riocentro in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 07 August 2016. EPA/NIC BOTHMA

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