By Carlos Manuel Eusoya

PHOTO: Tokyo 2020

Hidilyn Diaz, Philippine’s first Olympic gold medalist, revealed that the China team did not expect her to carry as much weight as she did in the weightlifting competition of the Tokyo Olympics held last Monday.

According to Diaz, they supposedly got mad with her Chinese coach for not sharing the extent of her skills.

 “Hindi makapaniwala ang China na ganito na ako kalakas, then siyempre si Coach, hindi niya na-share sa China. Medyo nagalit kasi ang China din sa kanya... Ang [sabi] ko, bakit niya ishe-share?’ Nandito kasi siya para mag-work, to work for me para palakasin ako,” Diaz said in an interview with ANC this Thursday.

Gao Kaiwen had been Diaz’s coach since the latter’s victory in the 2018 Asian Games, but he was a former head coach of the Chinese national women’s army team.

Diaz won a gold medal in the women’s 55 kilograms weightlifting category— and in the process, she also set two Olympic records with her combined weight total of 224 kg across two successful lifts and her Games mark of 127 kg in clean and jerk.

However, Diaz disclosed that her strength came as a surprise to China’s side. 

“Ang tingin nila sa akin, for how many competition na na nagawa ko, ang total ko is 214 kg lang, 215, 212,” she added.

Diaz was referring to her scores in previous weightlifting competitions, particularly in the 2015-2016 Philippine National Games and the 2019 World Championships, where she scored 212 and 214 kg in combined weights, respectively.

“Hindi nila nakita ‘yung best ko. So, sabi nila, ‘Ay hindi, hindi ‘yan mananalo, si Diaz, hindi ‘yan, imposible ‘yan,” she added.

The China team clinched four gold medals and one silver medal after weightlifter Liao Qiuyun— Diaz’s toughest opponent— placed second in her category.

“Mixed feelings [ang pagkapanalo] sa atin kasi nga dahil sa political, international [issue]…yung sea natin. Walang giyera, pero nai-representa ko ang Pilipinas, natalo ko ang China,” Diaz ended.