Hidilyn Diaz’s quest for a medal at the 19th Asian Games came tantalizingly close but ultimately ended in fourth place in the women’s 59kg division held at the Xiaoshan Sports Centre Gymnasium on Monday.
Diaz, celebrated for her remarkable gold win in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, where she shone in the 53kg weight category, and her historic gold medal performance in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics in the 55kg division, faced a unique challenge this time.
Her familiar weight classes were not part of the Asiad program, nor are they included in the forthcoming Paris Olympics.
Consequently, Diaz was compelled to compete in a heavier weight class.
She displayed tremendous strength and determination, lifting 97kg in the snatch and 126kg in the clean-and-jerk, amassing a total of 223kg.
Despite her formidable effort, she fell just four kilograms short of capturing a medal. The bronze went to Chinese Taipei’s Kuo Hsing Chun, who outperformed Diaz in the competition.
Kuo Hsing Chun, who had previously secured Olympic gold in Tokyo and still held the world record for the 59kg weight class with a staggering 247kg lift in April 2021, couldn’t replicate her prior success in the Asiad.
She faced stiff competition from North Korea’s Kim Ilgyong and China’s Luo Shifang, who outperformed her in the event.
Kuo showcased her prowess by successfully executing all her lifts in the snatch, with a remarkable 101kg lift in her final attempt, which proved to be crucial.
While she managed good lifts on her clean-and-jerk attempts of 122kg and 126kg, it became evident that a nagging right thigh injury hampered her.
Sadly, she failed to lift 128kg in her last attempt, leaving the door ajar for Diaz to clinch the bronze.
In a dramatic turn of events, Diaz had an opportunity to seize the bronze, but her attempt to lift 131kg was fraught with uncertainty, and she was unable to bridge the gap, ending her campaign just shy of a medal.