Like many Filipinos, veteran powerlifter Achelle Guion is inspired by Hidilyn Diaz and her historic performance in the recent Tokyo Olympics.
The 30-year-old became the Philippines’ first-ever Olympic gold medalist when she lorded over the women’s weightlifting 55-kilogram category, lifting a record 127 kilograms to best world record holder Liao Quiyun of China.
“Sobra po. Grabe. Sobra po’ng binigay niyang inspiration sa akin,” she said in a virtual sendoff organized by Citi Philippines, Thursday.
And that inspiration is what fuels the 49-year-old in a bid to write her own story in the forthcoming 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
Guion, whose impairment was caused by polio, qualified after the World Para Powerlifting approved her bi-partite invitation.
This will now be her second stint in the Paralympiad after waving the flag in the 2012 edition of the quadrennial meet in London.
There, she competed in the women’s -44-kilogram event and finished sixth among eight competitors after lifting 70 kilograms.
But as they say, there’s nowhere to go but up. And that’s exactly what she did, collecting silver medals in the 2014 and 2018 Asian Para Games, as well as in the 2017 World Para Powerlifting Championships in Mexico City.
Now, she’s set to compete in the -45-kilogram category in the forthcoming Tokyo Games, which will run from August 24 to September 5.
Exceeding expectations is what Guion and coach Antonio Taguibao aim to do, as they are aiming to lift over 81 kilos.
And who knows, they might even lift way beyond that weight — just like what Diaz did on her way to becoming an Olympic champion.
The Zamboanga-native revealed that it was actually the first time she had lifted 127 kilos in the clean and jerk, and it ended up not just a triumph for an entire nation but as an Olympic record in the women’s 55-kg division as well.
“Tumataas naman po ‘yung buhat ko,” said Guion, who started her lifting career in 20023. “Ta-try po namin na mas mahigitan pa ‘yung 81.”