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Saint Benilde hails Hidilyn Diaz, Agatha Wong

The College of Saint Benilde made sure to honor two of its student-athletes in Hidilyn Diaz and Agatha Wong after they delivered impressive finishes in the recently-concluded 18th Asian Games in Indonesia.

Diaz, currently a Business Management student of Saint Benilde, notched a gold medal finish in the women’s minus-53kg weightlifting to deliver the country’s first of three golds in the Jakarta and Palembang Games.

Wong, a Consular and Diplomatic Affairs alumna under the School of Diplomacy and Governance, bagged bronze in Wushu.

Robin Serrano, Vice President for Advancement of the school, and Leonard Babiera, Officer-in-Charge director of Center for Sports Development, honored Diaz and Wong for their successful Asiad stint in a luncheon meeting on Thursday at Benilde Hotel Maison De La Salle.

“With the success of these two athletes, we in the sports office, we always tell our student athletes to follow the footsteps of these two ladies maybe some day they can get medals also in international level,” Babiera said.

“We’re proud of them not only because they are national athletes but because they are Benildians and we call them student-athletes,” Serrano added.

“They are students first before they are athletes. We encourage them to attend their academics and strike a balance between that and their trainings.”

Benilde is grateful to produce two Asian Games medalists, and the school is seeking to create more champions as it is currently building a sports complex, which has a multi-court, weights room, training room, and a pool, all set to open in December 2019.

“We’re building a Sports Indoor Complex for our athletes and scholars,” Serrano said. “We already did the groundbreaking last January and we’re hoping to finish the complex by December 2019, so maabutan pa ni Hidilyn.

“It’s a sports complex na may pool, a multi-court, weights room, training room to support our student-athletes.”

The Sports Complex is not only for Benilde students – it is also open for national athletes.

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“That’s in the program, that’s part of the proposal, to allow other athletes to use the faciilities,” he added.

“And that’s the very reason why we’re inviting supporters and donors to finish the complex so we’ll be able to extend the use of the facilities to national athletes.”

Diaz and Wong are happy that their school is supporting Philippine sports, and they are hoping for more boosts to their respective sports to hone the talents of younger athletes.

“Gusto kong i-spread ang weightlifting hindi lang sa Zamboanga kasi sikat na sikat ang weightlifitng sa Zamboanga. Sana sa Cebu na tinutulungan naman ako ng CWA (Cebu Weightlifting Association),” the 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist said.

“Sana maipasok sa NCAA, Palarong Pambansa, UAAP kasi kung nakapasok ang weightlifting sa schools may opportunity ang mga bata makapagaral.

“Sana maibigay din yun sa mga bata kasi naniniwala ako sa sports nabui-build ang character ng isang atleta at nagu-guide sila sana mabago ang buhay nila sa sports,” Diaz added.

Wong agreed.

“Yung karamihan ng nasa junior team namin sa wushu, they’re ten to eleven years old and they come from — I would say siguro na medyo walang kaya na families,” she said. “What we do is we get them tapos we assess them how flexible they are.

“Right now, sobrang dami naming junior wushu athletes training to be future world champions. They are future SEA Games medalist.”

Diaz and Wong are now shifting their focus to their respective World competitions this year before they look forward for Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines in 2019.

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