Hidilyn Diaz’s quest for a fourth straight Olympics appearance is in danger.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the organizers of the Ibero-American Open have decided to bar weightlifters from Asia and Europe from joining the OQT.
The tournament — which will take place in Cali, Colombia from March 13-23 — was supposed to be the last International Weightlifting Federation-sanctioned meet that Diaz had to join in order to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The 29-year-old native of Zamboanga City is ranked fourth in the world in the 55-kilogram weight class.
With this, Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas president Monico Puentevella has asked the IWF to make considerations for Diaz and the rest of the hopefuls who are close to qualifying for the Games as this falls under force majeure.
“I already requested the IWF as early as two weeks ago to review the six-event qualifying policy and reduce it to just five due to the unforeseen circumstances affecting not only weightlifting, but all sports as a whole,” Puentevella told Joey Villar of the Philippine Star.
Other events cancelled due to the virus were the Asian Championships and the African Championships.
Diaz, who won silver in the 2016 London Games, is training in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The Air Force personnel is looking to join gymnast Caloy Yulo, pole vaulter EJ Obiena, and boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno to Tokyo.
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