The whole Philippine sports industry has been in unison in saying that this batch of Olympians has been one of the best.
That’s why the pressure has been building on since the day Hidilyn Diaz won silver in the 2016 Rio Olympics up to now — two days before her much-awaited game day in Tokyo.
“Kinakabahan ako. Sobrang kinakabahan pero kino-convert ko siya. Sinasabi ko na excited na akong makita ang galing nating mga Filipino,” said the 30-year-old sports icon in the finale of Let’s Go HD!, a four-part documentary chronicling Diaz’s journey to the 2020 Summer Games.
“Ito na ‘yung pinakahihintay ko — pinakahihintay naming mga Filipino athletes. So siyempre sobrang excited na ako.”
And Diaz knows she’s not the only one carrying an immense amount of pressure heading into the one-year delayed Olympics.
Because, she, too is a believer that 2021 will be the year the Philippines will finally take home a gold in the quadrennial event.
“For me, yes! This is the year for us!,” said the Zamboanga City native.
“Kilala ko sina EJ [Obiena], si [Caloy] Yulo, si Nesthy [Petecio], si Eumir [Marcial]. Alam ko ‘yung pinaghirapan nila sa training. Kung manalo man sila ng gold o kahit anong medal, alam kong kaya nila.”
But what comes after the Olympics? Is this her last tour of duty? Questions like these arise, especially since this is Diaz’s fourth stint in the Games.
The Philippine Air Force sergeant said she will still compete in the 2022 Asian Games. But her plans are only up to that point for the meantime.
“Sa akin, alam kong kaya ko pa, pero ngayon target ko hanggang Asian Games. Then after that, tingnan ko ulit. Reflect,” shared the women’s 55-kg favorite.
“Kung kaya, tuloy-tuloy. Kung hindi, then baka ‘yun na. Ang haba-haba na ng serbisyo ko sa weightlfting, baka time na. Pero hindi ko pa alam.”
But if she would retire, Diaz wants her rough road to success to be her lasting legacy.
That even you are faced with hurdles and problems along the way, you can still achieve great things.
“Sana maalala nila na may isang Hidilyn Diaz na lumalabas, isang Filipina galing sa Zamboanga City na napatunayan niya na kahit galing ka sa hirap, kaya mong manalo sa Olympics.”