Hidilyn Diaz dusts off Thai problem to stay weightlifting queen

Philippines' Hidilyn Diaz celebrates as she wins gold in the women's 55kg weightlifting event during the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Hanoi on May 20, 2022. (Photo by Tang Chhin Sothy and TANG CHHIN SOTHY / AFP)

Philippines’ Hidilyn Diaz celebrates as she wins gold within the ladies’s 55kg weightlifting occasion through the thirty first Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Hanoi on May 20, 2022. (Photo by Tang Chhin Sothy and TANG CHHIN SOTHY / AFP)

HANOI—There was a quick second when everybody held their breath at a jampacked Hanoi Sports Palace. In a battle of Olympic champions, Thailand’s Sanikun Tanasan constructed a slight benefit early within the ladies’s weightlifting remaining of the thirty first Southeast Asian Games.

The just one not jittery?

Hidilyn Diaz.

“I was really confident because we’ve been studying my opponent so we know she’s strong in snatch but in clean and jerk, no,” stated the nation’s first and solely Olympic gold medalist on Friday.

Tanasan, a gold winner within the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, carried the heavier weight in snatch, lifting 93 kilograms to Diaz’s 92. But when the clear and jerk got here, Diaz confirmed she was nonetheless the queen of the 55kg weight class by lifting 114kg to win the gold medal with a 206kg whole.

It wasn’t the identical present that Diaz placed on within the Tokyo Olympics, nevertheless it was sufficient to kickstart the 31-year-old champion’s trek towards the Paris 2024 Olympics.

“For me it’s okay. I’m happy to be back again training and, you know, being in competition again,” stated Diaz.

“I always want to do my best; she’s an Olympic [gold] medalist and we had to strategize everything,” she added.

Tanasan, who gained the 48kg crown in Brazil however climbed to a heavier division to chase Diaz, lifted 104 and 110 within the clear and jerk. She completed with a silver, 3kg in need of the highest prize.

Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas president Monico Puentevella stated that even because the federation has lined up potential heirs, Diaz “will remain the Philippine weightlifting’s heart and soul.”

And there’s hope that Diaz’s gold will pump life again right into a Philippine marketing campaign that has slowed within the final couple of days. Team Philippines is setting its sights on a 3rd or fourth place end within the general standings even because it slipped to fifth as of seven p.m. Friday.

The nation solely has 43 gold medals to indicate together with 57 silvers and 80 bronzes. Host Vietnam has an insurmountable tally of 158-95-91. Thailand is operating second (65-72-102), Singapore third (47-44-62) and Indonesia fourth (46-66-59).

“We nonetheless have a bulk [of golds to expect,” said Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino. “Singapore has no more.”

“If we all work hard as one, we will win as one,” said commissioner Mon Fernandez of the Philippine Sports Commission, who has been diligently attending to the athletes’ in his capacity as chef de mission. “This is not the time for us to be discouraged since reclaiming No. 3 is still very much possible.”

Friday’s golds came in trickles, but they helped nonetheless.

Sibol crushed Indonesia, 3-1, in Mobile Legends (ML): Bang Bang for the country’s second crown in esports. The Philippines, which won three gold medals in 2019, also ruled the women’s Wild Rift.

The ML champion team, composed of Danerie del Rosario, Kyle Soto, Salic Imam, Jonmar Villaluna, Russel Usi, Lee Gonzales and Dexter Alaba, took Friday’s first gold for Team Philippines at National Convention Center.

In the late afternoon at Hoai Duc Gymnasium, Shugen Nakano defended his men’s 66kg title for the country’s third gold medal of the day.

Nakano was almost robbed of the gold as the referee failed to stop the fight even after time had ran out. At that moment, Nakano, leading 1-0, was in an arm-lock by Hoang Phuc Troung of Vietnam.

“Had we not reacted, the referee wouldn’t have called it. Maybe he was waiting for our boy to tap out which he didn’t do. Shugen just endured it up until the match was called,” said Philippine Judo Association president Dave Carter.

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