With all eyes looking towards the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, the MVP Sports Foundation has solidified its full-fledged support to 2016 Olympic Silver Medalist Hidilyn Diaz, so that she can focus on her training and eventually bring pride to the country on the grandest stage.
Diaz, the country's only female Olympic medalist, has proven to be a consistent force in the international weightlifting scene having conquered the 2018 Asian Games (Women's 53kg Gold Medalist) and 2019 SEA Games (Women's 55kg Gold Medalist) last December. Prior to defending home soil, Diaz also bagged two bronzes (Women's 55kg Clean & Jerk and Overall) at the 2019 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships last September in Pattaya, Thailand, which is considered a gold standard Olympic qualifying meet.
Currently, Diaz is ranked 5th in the world behind four lifters who all hail from China. However, given that a country can only send one athlete per weight division in the Olympics, this would bump Diaz up to number 2 in the Olympic Rankings.
Diaz will be participating in the IWF World Cup in Italy this Jan 25 - Feb 1, and the IWF Asian Championships in Kazakhstan on April 16-25, the last two mandatory Olympic qualifiers in hopes she can maintain or even improve her ranking.
In preparation for all these tournaments, including the 2020 Olympics, Diaz is set to completely immerse herself in her extensive training in Taiwan and Japan.
To put herself in the best position to succeed, Diaz has a core team of decorated sports science personnel who travel with her to all trainings and competitions. The core team consists of head coach Kaiwen Gao, Assistant Coach and S&C Julius Naranjo, Sports Nutrition Coach Jeaneth Aro, Sports Psychologist Karen Trinidad, and Sports Masseuse Belen Bañas.
While Diaz admits that her preparations are costly, she and her core team insist this path best leads to success having seen first-hand how athletes at the top level of sports in the world train and sustain their performance in international competitions. Diaz continues to be grateful to those who have supported her both from the government and private sector.
Among Diaz's staunchest supporters in the private sector is Manuel V. Pangilinan through the MVP Sports Foundation (MVPSF) whose ultimate goal is to bring the country its first ever Olympic Gold medal. Diaz bared that MVPSF was the first Foundation that truly believed in her potential to make history in sports for the Philippines. "Thank you for supporting me and my journey towards Tokyo 2020. Thank you for believing and trusting in me and my core team," said Diaz in a personal message to the MVPSF.
With MVPSF seeing Diaz as a testament of the Filipino success in Weightlifting, the Foundation has pledged to extend its support to Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas, the national governing body of the sport led by its president Monico Puentevella, to develop up and coming Filipino weightlifters. As proven by Diaz, given support and the right training environment, Filipinos can be world champions in Weightlifting.
"MVPSF will continue to support and believe in the Filipino athlete. We recognize Hidilyn as a history-making Filipino athlete, and we hope that she, as an example, will inspire other athletes to strive hard to match or even surpass the level she has gotten to," said Foundation President Alfredo S. Panlilio.