Heidelin Diaz has dusted off the Thai challenge of being the weightlifting queen

Heidelin Diaz of the Philippines celebrates by winning gold in the women's 55kg weightlifting event during the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Hanoi on May 20, 2022.  (Photo: Tang Chin Sothi and Tang Chin Sothi / AFP)

Heidelin Diaz of the Philippines celebrates by winning gold in the women’s 55kg weightlifting event during the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Hanoi on May 20, 2022. (Photo: Tang Chin Sothi and Tang Chin Sothi / AFP)

Hanoi: There was a brief moment when everyone was holding their breath at the Jampack Hanoi Sports Palace. In the fight for the Olympic champions, Thailand’s Sanikun Tanasan made a slight advantage at the start of the women’s weightlifting final at the 31st Southeast Asian Games.

Isn’t the only one fidgeting?

Hidelin Diaz.

The country’s first and only Olympic gold medalist on Friday said, “I was really confident because we were studying my opponent so we knew he was strong in snatching but clean and jerk, no.

The gold medalist at the 2016 Summer Games in Tanasan, Rio de Janeiro, carried a heavy weight in the snatch, lifting 93 kilograms at 92 in Diaz. But when it comes to Clean & Jerk, Diaz shows that she is still the queen of the 55kg weight class. He lifted 114 kg and won gold with a total of 206 kg.

The show that Diaz did at the Tokyo Olympics was not the same, but it was enough to start the 31-year-old champion’s journey towards the Paris 2024 Olympics.

“It’s okay for me. I’m glad to be back in training and, you know, to be able to compete again,” Diaz said.

“I always want to do my best; She is an Olympic [gold] The medalist and we had to do everything strategically, ”he added.

Tanasan, who won the 48kg crown in Brazil but climbed to a heavier division to chase Diaz, lifted 104 and 110 in the clean and jerk. He finished with silver, 3kg less than the top prize.

Moniko Puentevela, president of the Samhang Weightlifting NP Pilipinas, said that even after the federation lined up potential heirs, Diaz “will remain the heart and soul of Philippine weightlifting.”

And hopefully Diaz’s gold will bring life back to a campaign in the Philippines that has slowed down in the last few days. The team is aiming for a third or fourth place finish in the Philippine overall standings and even dropped to fifth place by 6pm on Friday.

There are only 43 gold medals to show for the country, including 57 silver and 80 bronze. The indomitable number of host Vietnam 158-95-91. Thailand is second (65-72-102), Singapore is third (47-44-62) and Indonesia is fourth (46-66-59).

“We still 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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