By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz is not going to rest on her laurels even after giving the country its first Olympic gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Games.
As long as her body can still endure the long hours at the gym and the pain that goes with the lifting of dumbbells and other equipment, Diaz will not stop from competing at the highest level in her effort to give the country more sporting glory.
“As an athlete, we don’t stop there eh. Yung once makuha mo yung goal mo, tapos na. Para sa akin, hindi pa,” Diaz said in Tuesday’s press briefing of Summit Drinking Water’s Thirst for More project.
“Kahit nanalo na ako sa Olympics, gusto ko pa ring magbigay ng karangalan sa bansa. Kahit anong competition. Kaya ko pa eh. Alam kong habang ginagawa ko ito, nagbibigay ako ng awareness on my sport, on women empowerment… gusto kong magbigay pa rin ng inspirasyon na ginagawa ko pa rin ito dahil mahal ko ang sport na to. Dahil mahal ko ang ginagawa ko.”
Diaz, who also won the 2016 Rio Olympics silver medal, said she has set her sights on the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam next month where she will be defending her title.
Like Diaz, pole vaulter EJ Obiena is also a man of mission.
The Asian record holder will also be defending his gold medal in the SEAG in Hanoi – as well as carrying the country’s colors as the team’s flag bearer in the opening ceremony.
“It’s still a medal for the country, it’s still an opportunity and a chance to gather that medal. It might not be the Olympics but it’s still important and crucial to deliver because I’m representing the country. There’s still pressure for that,” said Obiena, who is ranked No. 6 in the world.
Even the Philippine women’s football team is also upbeat on its chances to show the world its true worth when the Nationals compete in the 2023 Women’s World Cup after a historic showing at the Women’s Asian Cup in India last February.
No Philippine football team, men or women, had made it to football’s grandest stage – until now.
But for Inna Palacios, Hali Long and team captain Tahnai Annis, the tough journey was all worth it – and they are just starting well.
“The past three years, we’ve been through so much together. Everyone is driving towards the same thing, we’re all on the same page and we have such a high level of respect for one another on and off the field. Those obstacles and hardships actually bring us together and have contributed to our success,” Annis said.