Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas president Monico Puentevella lauded Olympic champion Hidilyn Diaz’s plans to build another weightlifting academy in Jala-jala, Rizal.
Puentevella, who was with Diaz since she made her debut in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, told DAILY TRIBUNE that he is happy seeing the world champion and her coach and husband, Julius Naranjo, doing their part in spreading the sport and training a new breed of weightlifting champions.
Last Sunday, Diaz started the groundbreaking of the academy, which started as her temporary gym, with Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richard “Dickie”: Bachmann in attendance.
“Hidilyn and Julius have been trying to promote our sport weightlifting everywhere. Now it’s in Rizal province. Kudos to this husband and wife team,” Puentevella said.
“Hidi started when she was barely twelve. And she wants others to follow in her footsteps. A real champ.”
In 2018, Diaz built her weightlifting gym in Zamboanga City, with talents such as Rosalinda Faustino and Angeline Colonia honing their skills before doing good on the international scene.
The 32-year-old weightlifter expects the gym to be finished early next year as she prepares also for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“This is just so important to me, as I prepare for the Paris 2024, I have a place to train together with the kids who dream to be in the national team, be a world champion and Olympic medalist,” Diaz said in a social media post.
“We can’t wait to see, hopefully, after four months, from the temporary gym to our soon-to-be training camp preparing for the Paris Olympics, and joining us the soon-to-be weightlifting champions!”