<
>

Asian Games preview: Olympians Hidilyn Diaz, Nestor Colonia say podium finish attainable

play
Weightlifters Hidilyn Diaz and Nestor Colomia ready (3:34)

2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz and Nestor Colomia are deep in their preparations for the Asian Games. (3:34)

Editor's note: As part of our coverage of the 2018 Asian Games to be held in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia from August 18 to September 2, we will be previewing the different national teams that will see action for the Philippines.

2014 Asian Games performance

The Philippines only had one representative in the weightlifting competition of the Incheon Asian Games in 2014, and that was Nestor Colonia. He competed in the 56kg event but failed to lift 120kg in three tries in the snatch, which disqualified him for the clean and jerk.

2018 Asian Games representatives

  • Nestor Colonia

  • Hidilyn Diaz

  • Kristel Macrohon

  • Eireen Ann Ando

  • Maria Dessa delos Santos

  • Ellen Rose Perez

  • Jeffrey Garcia

Background

The country is looking to rebound from the results in the 2014 Asian Games after a pre-competition meal mishap affected the performance of Nestor Colonia who came up short in the 56kg event.

Colonia didn't have much luck either in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games. Hobbling with a knee injury, he landed fifth out of six entries. But for the upcoming Asian Games, a healthy Colonia is looking for redemption.

"This is my chance to avenge my performance (in the previous Asian Games). In the 2016 Asian Indoor Games and 2017 SEA Games, I failed to medal so I intend to redeem myself in the Asian Games," he said. "Right now I'm at 90 percent. Next week, I'll probably hit one hundred."

This time, however, he'll have 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz and fellow lifter Kristel Macrohon competing with him now that the women's weightlifting event returned to the Asiad.

"It was hard to train with no one else around," said Colonia. "But now there are a lot of us here training so it gives us more motivation to perform better."

The 27-year-old Diaz, who will compete in the women's 53kg event, said her preparation for the Asian Games has been going great.

"My training has been going well, and my conditioning is great. So we'll see what the outcome is after the competition," Diaz said.

The Zamboanga City native, however, added she and Colonia have been in the gym almost every day, logging 2-3 hours per session, on top of the regular jogging and strength conditioning they do.

Diaz has competed in a lot of international competitions in the past but admitted her preparation for the Asian Games is quite different and personal for her.

"After I won the 2016 Olympics, I relaxed for four months. Then I had a lot of commitments and had to deal with my studies, so my preparation for the AIMAG [2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan] was not too good," she revealed. "But in the Asian Games, I've become stricter with my food intake and I've been training diligently. I gave a lot of time and effort for the Asian Games, so for me this is special."

Prognosis for Jakarta

Both Colonia and Diaz are confident of their chances at a podium finish in their respective events in the Asian Games.

Despite facing challenges from foes from Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia, Colonia said if he can lift his record -- 124kg in the snatch and 158kg in the clean and jerk -- there's a high possibility he could win a medal.

"I've beaten them before. I'll try to chase my record," said the 26-year-old Colonia. "Of course a lot of factors come in when it's time to compete. (But) if I hit my best, there's a huge chance I can win a medal. I am confident because I have lifted the weight that my opponents are lifting."

Diaz, whose personal record is 98kg in the snatch and 118 kg in the clean and jerk, agreed with his fellow lifter, saying the "toughest foe in the Asian Games will be myself."

"If I can do that again, I'm headed for a podium finish," said Diaz. "Of course I want to win a gold medal. All of us want to win. But I don't want to predict, I just want to give results. I just want to give my best there."