By WAYLON GALVEZ
Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz and her ‘HD Team’ left Malaysia for Tashkent, Uzbekistan Friday, ready and determined to clinch an Olympic berth in the Asian Weightlifting Championships set April 16 to 21.
Diaz is eyeing her fourth straight Olympic berth via the Asian Championship, which also serves as the Olympic Qualifying Tournament for the region.
Aside from finishing in the top eight in the world rankings – where she is at No. 5 – she also needs to join her sixth OQT to formalize her entry to the Tokyo Olympics.
“April 19 ang laro ko pero ang start ng tournament is 16. Pero mag-punta kame doon ng maaga mga April 10,” said Diaz.
Joining the 30-year-old Diaz in the capital city of Uzbekistan are Chinese head coach Kaiwen Gao, strength and conditioning coach Julius Naranjo, as well as therapist Belen Banas.
They arrived in Kuala Lumpur in late February to prepare for the Asian Weightlifting Championships in Kazakhstan, but the event was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Like other countries, Malaysia also went on a lockdown that forced Diaz and her team to stay there. Diaz continued to stay in Malaysia to train not only for the OQT but to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics set July 23 to August 8.
She has 3,717.0982 points behind Chinese weightlifters in Jiang Huihua (4,667.8878), Liao Qiuyun (4,288.9622), Zhang Wangqiong (4,212.6639) and Li Yajun (4,099.0223).