PSC intensifies backing for Diaz’s Olympic bid

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    GOING ALL-OUT: PSC chief Butch Ramirez, here with Hidylin Diaz, has pledged more support in her bid for a slot in the Tokyo Games.

    NEWLY-MINTED 30th Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Hidylin Diaz boosted her Olympic qualifying bid by ruling the women’s 55-kilogram division of the IWG Weightlifting World Cup in Rome, Italy last Tuesday (early morning yesterday).

    Diaz, a silver medalist at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, topped the snatch with a lift of 93 kilograms then followed it up with 119 kilos in the clean-and-jerk for a combined lift of 212 kilos, capping a three-gold sweep of her division.

    Unlike the Olympics, Asian and Southeast Asian Games, the International Weightlifting Federation awards gold in each of the snatch, clean-and-jerk and combined lifts.

    Ukraine’s Kamila Konotop (196 kg) and Tunisia’s Nouha Landoulsi (194 kg) finished second and third, respectively, in the event serving as an Olympic qualifier for the Tokyo Olympic Games in July.

    The championship finish gave Diaz, of Zamboanga City, also a gold medalist in the 2018 Asian Games, additional Olympic ranking points and fortified her current No. 5 rating in the Olympic world ratings. The top eight finishers based on the Olympic ranking points at the cut-off at the end of May will secure tickets to the Tokyo Games.

    Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez, elated with Diaz’s latest feat, said: “We are supporting her in her efforts to qualify for the Olympics. She is one of those athletes on whom we are anchoring our dreams for (an) Olympic gold. Congratulations Hidilyn!”

    Diaz is expected to see action in the Asian weightlifting championships set April 16 to 25 in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan, the last Olympic qualifying competition for Asia. The champions in the men’s and women’s divisions will qualify for the Tokyo Games.