Eventhough her category will not be played in the 2024 Olympics, world triple-gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo is pumped up to make an appearance in Paris in a bid to put an exclamation point to Philippine weightlifting icon’s fairy tale.
“It’s official! We’ve kicked off our Paris 2024 Journey with a decent start and ended our year with 3 (three) Gold medals in the Snatch/CJ/Total, going 93/114/207. Not our best showing but a historical one being the First Filipina to win a World Championships,” said his coach-husband Julius Naranjo in a social media post.
“It’s been definitely a journey coming back, Hidilyn and I have accomplished a lot in 2022. From winning the Philippines’ first-ever Olympics to getting married, and to winning our 2nd Southeast Asian Games Gold Medal.”
On Thursday, Diaz-Naranjo finally copped not one, but three gold medals that were lacking in her cabinet after dominating the snatch, clean and jerk, and the overall lift of the women’s 55-kg category of the ongoing 2022 World Weightlifting Championships in Bogota, Colombia.
Diaz first took the snatch gold with a lift of 93 kgs, beating Mexico’s Ana Gabriela Lopez and Colombia’s Rosalba Morales on her second attempt. Then, she ruled the clean and jerk with 114 kgs and a total lift of 207 kgs to complete the three-gold sweep.
As a result, Diaz-Naranjo won at every level, from the Asian Championship in 2015, the Asian Games in 1028, the Southeast Asian Games in 2019 and 2022, the Tokyo Olympics 2020, and now the IWF World Championships of 2022.
“Here we are now, seeing Hidilyn go from DNF to Gold Medal and now our journey will continue to as we look to bring the future weightlifters of the Philippines and the athletes I work with around the world to find success. I know that the #HDWeightliftingAcademy will make a difference.”
Naranjo said the Tokyo Olympics was the most difficult, having to train during the Covid-19 pandemic, with less funding and contact with friends and relatives.
“We’ve been through a lot in the Olympic Journey. Hidilyn in fact, wasn’t even the favorite to win the medal, because of her age, and the controversy she had gone through leading up to the Olympics. But we kept our chin up, and did whatever was possible to get to where we are today with people who have believed in us and our journey.”
The journey to Paris will be entirely different for Team HD, however.
There are five weightlifting weight classes for weightlifting competitions in Paris, France and the nearest for Diaz-Naranjo, who won in Tokyo and Bogota at 55 kgs, would be the 49-kg or the 59-kg categories.
She will have to choose whether to slide down to 49 kgs or go up to the 59 kgs. How will her body and strength respond to the change in weight?
Diaz-Naranjo will decide when she competes in four Olympics Qualifying tournaments next year and six more in 2024.