Tough battle awaits Olympic champion Hidilyn Diaz when she competes in the 2022 IWF World Weightlifting Championships from 5 to 16 December in Colombia.
Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas president Monico Puentevella admitted that he is wary of Diaz’s chances in the prestigious event that serves as a qualifier for the Paris Olympics in 2024.
Diaz was with her husband and coach, Julius Naranjo, and weightlifter Rowel Garcia when she boarded a Japan Airlines flight for New York at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 over the weekend.
She will be training in the United States for two weeks before competing in the world tourney set at the Gran Carpa Americas Conferias in the Colombian capital of Bogota.
Puentevella, who is responsible for helping Diaz becomes an Olympic champion, admitted that he is doubtful of Diaz’s chances as she tended to her off-court activities during the off-season.
“I cannot say yet of her chances on the podium because she got married months ago and she is now training on her own. Let’s see what happens,” Puentevella told Daily Tribune.
“But you know, Hidi is full of surprises. We’ll know everything when we see her perform in Colombia.”
The world tilt has been Diaz’s playground.
In fact, she asserted her might in the previous editions of this tourney in Houston in 2015, Anaheim in 2017 and Pattaya in 2019.
Last year, Diaz opted to skip the tourney in Tashkent, saying that she wasn’t ready due to lack of enough training and preparation.
Aside from Diaz, also seeing action Elreen Ando (59 kgs), Asian champion Vanessa Sarno (71 kgs), world junior gold medalist Rosegie Ramos (49 kgs), Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Kristel Macrohon (71 kgs) and Lovely Inan (49 kgs).
In the men’s division, 2015 Asian champion Nestor Colonia (59 kgs), John Febuar Ceniza (61 kgs) and Dave Lloyd Pacaldo (67 kgs) will all be gunning for glory.