Philippines weightlifting athlete, Hidilyn Diaz said that she’s indebted to a family in Kampung Kesang, Jasin, Melaka who let her train in their garage since last year to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games.
She said that she had been stranded in Malaysia since January last year, where she stopped on her way to Peru for an Olympic qualifying event, for about five months under the government’s travel ban due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Diaz said she built a gym and trained with water bottles during that time.
According to Stadium Astro, Diaz also trained at several different places such as the Pandan Rural Sports Complex and at the National Sports Council (MSN) Bukit Jalil before living with a local family in Melaka.
“I am very grateful to the family in Melaka, and all Malaysians who welcomed me with open arms especially when I was facing a bad situation.
“Thank you to the teams who stood behind me and supported me. I don’t want to predict who will bring back the gold medal for the Philippines, but I definitely want to do my best in the Games,” she said.
Diaz became her country’s first-ever Olympian to bring home the gold medal on Monday (July 26th), winning the women’s 55kg category for weightlifting at Tokyo 2020.
In her fourth Olympics, the 30-year-old lifted a combined weight of 224kg, a new Olympic record.
“For the people of Malaysia, and Melaka, thank you so much. The situation is hard right now and we might not be able to beat it anytime soon.
“We are all here not only to fight for our country, but the virus as well. Please pray for the athletes here in Japan at this time. Pray for Malaysia. Malaysia Boleh,” she said.
Congratulations on your win, Diaz!
By: Aishah Akashah Ahadiat