Heidelin Diaz is happy with her performance, saying it is her first step in Paris

Heidelin Diaz of the Philippines competes 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 AFP)

Heidelin Diaz of the Philippines competes 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 AFP)

HANOI— There is no doubt that Hidelin Diaz is following in the footsteps of the Olympics. Here on Friday he will not forget the irresistible performance that won him his second Southeast Asian Games gold medal.

The country’s first and only Olympic champion has admitted that his performance was “not good”, but he is happy with it. After all, it was his first step on the path to the glory of the sport.

“It’s all right for me. I’m glad to be back. I’m glad to be back and train again, and you know how to compete again,” said Diaz after the team handed over the Philippine gold to the 55-kg women’s weightlifting team against the Thai opponent. Tried to.

Rio de Janeiro Olympiad 48kg champion Sanikun Tanasan was flying a barbell high in the snatch where he led Diaz, 93-92, to the Olympic Queens showdown.

Diaz first broke the SEA Games snatching record at 91kg at one kilogram. But Tanasan lifted 93kg to reset Diaz from his weight class to give him a run for his money.

Diaz tried 94 kg but failed. At this point, the Hanoi Sports Palace was overflowing with crowds.

Not Diaz though.

“I was really confident because we were studying my opponent so we know he’s strong in snatching but clean and jerk, no,” he said.

His support squad, known as Team HD, proved his projection correct as Tanasan chose to start clean and tidy at 104kg, just below the 114kg of Diaz. Thai was able to lift up to 110 kg but could not distinguish three kg and settled for silver.

Moniko Puentevela, president of Samhang Weightlifting NP Pilipinas, says that although they have lined up young lifters for the future, Diaz, 31, will “remain the heart and soul of Philippine weightlifting.”

“Of course I don’t want to make the competition smaller, I always want to do my best, he’s an Olympic (gold) medalist, we just have to do everything strategically,” Diaz said. He even took a shot at the Games’ 121kg record but couldn’t.

Diaz completed the Golden Run with his 92kg snatch, 114kg snatch and his 206 total lift in the jerk, while Tanasan (93kg-110kg-203kg) and Malaysia’s Natasya Beteob (84kg-104kg-188kg) were the best.

“Even though I lost the snatch, I’m happy and glad I’m back here,” said Diaz, who fought COVID-19 last January. “I’m grateful that I recovered and that I was able to do my best, although the overall was not good, my performance was good but I’m happy (in it).”

As every athlete looks forward to the 2024 Summer Games, Diaz said the SEA Games were “part of my Paris trip. I want to win a gold medal again in Paris.”
And he is well on his way to that goal.

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