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Hidilyn Diaz plans to go up in weight entering Tokyo Games

Hidilyn Diaz will have only four days of rest before she buckles down to work for her next tour of duty – the World Championships in Turkmenistan in November.

But starting with the world championships, Diaz will be going up in weight from -53 kgs, where she won gold in these 18th Asian Games, to -55 kgs, a division she said would be her comfort zone.

“The minus-55 kilos is not actually a choice, but it’s my targeted weight for the gold in Tokyo [2020 Olympics]. It’s a new categorty in the IWF [International Weightlifting Federation],” she said.

“I feel more comfortable with minus-55 kilos,” she said. “My opponents in that class are strong, but I would stand my ground.

“In these Asian Games, I was confident of the gold in the minus-53 kilos, and thank God I got my wish.”

Diaz lifted 207 kgs in winning the gold on Tuesday night, beating Turkmenistan’s Kristina Shermetova by a kilo and Thailand’s Khambao Surodchana by 6 kilos.

Diaz said Tokyo 2020 could probably her last competition.

“I’m 27 years old now and I have been a national athlete for 14 years.

“In other words, I am no longer young and I am now one of the veterans,” said Diaz, a scholar of Business Management courtesy of College of St. Benilde.

She was innocent-looking when she was thrusted into the Olympics in Beijing 2008, and was already experienced but still unripe for a medal in London 2012. It was in Rio de Janeiro two years ago when her star finally shone.

In those years as a national athlete, Diaz said has reaped an Olympic silver and Asian Games gold – medals that she feels are enough to inspire young athletes to work hard in their respective sports, not only weightlifting.

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“I can see young athletes who have the potential, specially in weightlifting. Like myself, they need a program, a personal program like what I have undergone,” she said.

If Diaz indeed retires after Tokyo 2020 – she will be 29 by then – the pride of Zamboanga City, who as a child used to fetch water in pails back home, wants to have a business of her own, with marriage plans in mind.

“If I retire? Of course, I want to get married,” she said with a naughty smile.

“But I want to out up my own business—a restaurant perhaps, investment in the stock market, or go into the real estate.”

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