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FILIPINO weightlifting gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz (seated left) enjoys a meal on her way to Manila. With her on the flight is fellow Olympian skateboardist Margielyn Didal (right, back). (PAL photo) 


Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman Butch Ramirez said the trial system the government sports agency adopted indeed worked wonders.  

Prior to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Ramirez said that weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz has the best chance to win the country’s first Olympic gold medal.

His basis?

“This is her fourth stint in the Olympics. Hidilyn Diaz is our most experienced athlete in this year’s Olympics,” Ramirez said at that time when the Tokyo Olympics – delayed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic – was a few days away prior to its opening ceremony.

TEAM of Hidilyn Diaz (2nd from right) during their early part of training in Malaysia.

 “I have always said (that) experience is an advantage. Hidilyn took four Olympic cycles to finally attain her golden dream.”

 That belief, faith and confidence of the PSC chief on Diaz were realized when the veteran Olympian made history as she bagged the first gold medal for the country as she ruled the 55-kilogram category in women’s weightlifting last Monday.

Ramirez, now on his second stint as PSC chairman, called this the ‘Hidilyn Model.’

After a historic silver medal finish during the 2016 Rio Olympics of Diaz, the PSC board approved the requests of Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas (SWP) for a support team for the weightlifter as she started another journey towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“We have limited resources but we saw her potential so we took the chance,” said Ramirez.

The sports agency provided the support for what is now called ‘Team HD’ – giving Diaz the foreign coach in Chinese mentor Gao Kaiwen, her strength and conditioning mentor in Julius Naranjo, sports psychologist in Dr. Karen Trinidad, a sports nutritionist in Jeaneth Aro, and a masseuse in Belen Bañas.

 Except for Bañas, Gao, Naranjo, Trinidad and Aro were all present in Tokyo as they provided support to the now Olympic champion.

Because of the success Diaz had during her journey towards the Tokyo Olympics, Ramirez and the PSC board of commissioners provided the same support, based on their submitted requirements, for gymnast Caloy Yulo, pole vaulter EJ Obiena, judoka Kiyomi Watanabe, among others.

After the 2016 Rio Olympics, or when the PSC started to fund training and competitions here and abroad for national team athletes, the sports agency has spent approximately 2.7 billion to cover the expenses.

This covers foreign exposures, training, equipment, meals supplies, as well as allowances.

Ramirez said that looking forward to the 2024 Paris Olympics now, he expects more athletes to qualify since the PSC has the ‘Hidilyn Model’ to follow in supporting the athletes.

 “I think it gives everyone more impetus to plan and start their preparations,” said Ramirez.

 “Pero dito muna tayo, savor the moment and keep praying for more moments of victories for our athletes and the Filipino people.”

What do you think?

Written by Tempo Desk

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Gao Kaiwen, the Chinese coach behind Hidilyn’s historic gold