Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz will be the country’s flag-bearer in the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts (AIMA) Games set Sept. 17 to 27 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
Former taekwondo champion and Olympian Monsour del Rosario, now a congressman in Makati Cty, announced Diaz’s appointment during yesterday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Golden Phoenix Hotel in Pasay City.
“Kung maka-punta siya, siya balak natin gawing flag-bearer, na malaking karangalan,” said Del Rosario. “Imagine with Hidilyn as flag-bearer, we have an Olympic silver medalist carrying our flag.”
A native of Zamboanga City, the 26-year-old Diaz bagged the silver medal in the weightlifting 53-kilogram division, which ended the country’s 20-year Olympics medal drought.
Diaz, a member of the Air Force, is qualified to represent the Philippines in the AIMA, where she is expected to face some of her rivals in the Asian region like China, Taiwan and South Korea.
“Lahat naman ng magagaling sa division ni Hidilyn galing sa Asia e, so magagaling ang makaka-laban niya dun,” said del Rosario, who competed in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Del Rosario said around 150 Filipino athletes and officials will be going in the event – all confident of surpassing the country’s one gold and two bronze medals in the 2013 edition held in Incheon, South Korea.
“We’re hoping to get the highest possible medal in all events,” said del Rosario. “Tinitignan ko itong records from the past, yes combat sports, billiards, dance sports may chance tayo.”