2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz overcame slow start but managed to finish strong to pick up a couple of bronze medals in the women's 55-kilogram category at the 2019 World Championships in Pattaya, Thailand.
The competitions are considered gold level, which means that the results will heavily affect qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Diaz made a big step forward with her performance.
Diaz started out with the third heaviest lift in snatch as she tried 93 kilograms. However, she failed on her first two lifts, which made her third and final try a do-or-die. She mustered up all her strength for one final push as she finally completed the lift.
Zhang Wanqiong of China took home the gold in snatch at 99 kilograms while her compatriot Liao Qiuyun finished second at 98 kilograms. Muattar Nabieva of Uzbekistan took home the bronze while Diaz finished at eighth.
Although Diaz started the competitions on the back-foot, she knew she still had a chance to come back as she was stronger in clean and jerk. The two Chinese lifters ran away with the top two spots with Liao breaking her own world record by clearing 129 kilograms while Zhang managed to carry 123 kilograms on her second left before failing to complete 126 kilograms.
The race was much tighter in the battle for bronze between Diaz and Zulfiya Chinshanlo of Kazakhstan who also finished with 93 kilograms in snatch.
Diaz started at a reserved 115 kilograms, which she took care of quite easily. For her second lift, she cleared 118 kilograms. Chinshanlo started at 120 kilograms but failed on her first try before clearing it on her second.
The action shifted back to Diaz who added three more kilograms to 121, which she managed without a problem. This forced Chinshanlo to try 122 kilograms for an outright bronze but she buckled in the end.
Liao took home the gold in the overall competitions with 227 kilograms because of her impressive performance in clean and jerk while Zhang was the silver medalist at 222 kilograms. Diaz finished with 214 kilograms, a single kilogram ahead of Chinshanlo.
At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Diaz lifted 88 kilograms in snatch and 112 kilograms in clean and jerk but that was in the 53-kilogram weight division.
The much better measurement for the improvement of Diaz is to compare her performance from 2018 World Championships held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. In that competition, Diaz only managed to finish at the 11th spot with 93 kilograms in snatch and 110 kilograms in clean and jerk.
Diaz can take a step closer to a return trip to the Olympics with a strong performance in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games, which is a silver level event.