Proving she is far from over the hill, Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz achieved another milestone in her storied career at the 88th IWF World Weightlifting Championships in Bogota, Colombia in early December.
After failing to capture gold in her five previous appearances in the world meet, Diaz, no longer a spring chicken at 31, hoisted herself and the country to a golden treble in sweeping the women’s 55-kilogram class at the Gran Carpa Americas Corferias Convention Center in the Colombian capital.
In an early Christmas gift, the Zamboanga City pride ruled the weight division with a lift of 93 kilos in the snatch and 114 kg. in the clean-and-jerk for a total lift of 207 kg. in her victorious breakthrough at the worlds that also served as the first qualifying meet for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
Diaz will now shift and train in the heavier 59-kg division that will be contested in the Summer Games barely a year from now after the 55-kg category was dropped from the Olympic roster of events.
On the collegiate side, Ateneo de Manila University regained the University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s basketball championship by dethroning University of the Philippines, 75-68, in a winner-take-all Game 3 played before 21,814 fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Naturalized player Ange Kouame was named Finals Most Valuable Player.
Over at the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Letran made history by winning its third straight men’s basketball title by blowing away College of St. Benilde, 81-67, in the do-or-die Game 3 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
King Caralipio was the Finals MVP as he helped the Knights duplicate the same three-peat pulled off by the Samboy Lim-led Letran team from 1982-84.
Behind the heroics of power-hitting American import Lindsey Van Derweide, the underdog Petro Gazz Angels captured the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced crown in sweeping the Cignal HD Spikers in their best-of-3 title playoffs.
The charges of coach Raid Ricafort took Game 1 in straight sets 25-21, 27-25, 37-36, then clinched their second PVL championship by subduing the wards of coach Shaq de los Santos in four hard-fought sets 25-17, 22-25, 12-25, 25-21 in Game 2 in front of a lively crowd at the Philsports Arena.