Diaz, Gao to part ways; Naranjo recommended as coach

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

It’s sad to say goodbye to each other, but weightlifting superstar Hidilyn Diaz and Chinese mentor Gao Kaiwen and weightlifting  Hidilyn Diaz will have to part ways soon.

After all, they have already accomplished their mission in the Tokyo Olympics.

Diaz said Gao has decided to return to China and be with his family, which he hasn’t seen for a long time since he started as mentor of the Zamboanga City native back in 2018.

 “Gusto na kasi ni coach Gao umuwi din, gusto niya makasama ang family niya na matagal na talaga niya din hindi nakikita,” Diaz told the Manila Bulletin-Tempo in a phone interview Tuesday, August 3.

 “Siyempre naiintindihan natin yun, family naman talaga ang uunahin kahit sino lalong lalo sa panahon na nasa pandemic tayo ngayon. So kailangan niya na umuwi, naiintindihan natin na ito ang priority now ni coach Gao.”

Under the able guidance of Gao, Diaz was able to give the country its first gold medal in the Olympics since it started participating in the Games during the 1924 Paris meet by ruling the 55-kilogram women’s category. 

Diaz also won the gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, her first Southeast Asian Games gold medal here in 2019, and the 2020 Roma World Cup in Rome, Italy – all under Gao.

“Ang tagal din ng naging samahan namin, ang dami niyang naituro sa akin. Siempre nakaka-lungkot sa part ko, sa part ng ‘Team HD’ na uuwi na siya, pero yun nga, need niya gawin ito for his family,” said Diaz.

 Together with Gao, strength and conditioning coach Julius Naranjo, who is also Diaz’s boyfriend, and sports psychologist Dr. Karen Trinidad, members of ‘Team HD’ are finishing their quarantine protocol period of until August 6, Friday at the Sofitel in Pasay City.

 The plan, Diaz said, is to stay at the condominium unit in Eastwood City given by Megaworld Corporation after they finish the quarantine procedure since she has no place to stay.

Details of Gao’s departure are not yet available but Diaz said that would be finalized soon.

Gao has recommended Naranjo to be Diaz’s coach.

 “Magaling naman si Julius, siya din ang recommended ni coach Gao,” said Diaz, adding that getting another foreign mentor as replacement to Gao is not an option for ‘Team HD’.

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Written by Tempo Desk

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