AFTER being conferred as the Province’s adopted daughter, Filipino sports heroine 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic weightlifting gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz honored the Province of Negros Occidental with her invaluable presence Friday, September 10, 2021.
She was with her coach and boyfriend Julius Naranjo and Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas President Monico Puenvella. They were with her in her historic win at the Tokyo Summer Olympics.
Former Governor Rafael “Lito” Coscolluela, a local sports official, graced the visit of the sports heroine.
On behalf of Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer, Provincial Administrator and lawyer Rayfrando Diaz II welcomed the sports heroine with a simple rite held at the Social Hall, Provincial Capitol.
He presented the framed copy of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution No 0751, Series of 2021, congratulating, commending, and conferring her as the adopted daughter of the Province of Negros Occidental winning the Philippines first-ever gold medal in the recently concluded 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
The humble Hidilyn Diaz has expressed her sincerest gratitude to the province and its officials for conferring her title.
She recalls she had the opportunity to do her training at Provincial Capitol Lagoon and Park and played during the 2005 Southeast Asian Games held in Bacolod City.
In her message, she said, “The only Ilonggo word that I know is halong (take care), and gracias (thank you). Thank you all for recognizing my win, and hopefully, I have inspired the youth and us, as Filipinos especially that we are amid the pandemic. I want to tell you that I started my journey in sports here in the Province. In 2004, during the national open, we competed here at the Capitol grounds. In 2005, I also competed here during the 2005 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games hosted by the City of Bacolod. I am very thankful that the Province has conferred me their adopted daughter. I have many memories here in Negros (Occidental).”
She showed her gold medal to the attendees saying that “this is an actual gold medal which confirms our capacity to be victorious in the Olympics. We need to dream high.
“Suppose others would think that it is impossible to earn gold because of the pandemic. It was also my mindset before because we have been stranded in Malaysia for 19 months. And I thought we were already losing the opportunity to compete in the Tokyo Olympics. But with God’s help, who likewise sent people like Sir Monico and others to help me, we were able to compete in the Olympics. The Lord will not leave us. We have to trust Him and also believe in ourselves that we can do it. Let’s work hard on our dream and think that we can. We should not surrender because we all know that we can do it,” she shared.
Being a woman, does it matter to engage in weightlifting, which revolves typically around the world of men?
“Sports have no gender requirement. All of us will excel in sports regardless of gender. This gold medal is proof that a woman can win gold. As long as we love what we do and people like our parents, our government, and others are interested in supporting us, we can achieve something remarkable. Just like me, when I started my weightlifting journey, my mother did not like it. But when she saw how much I loved and dedicated to this sport, she eventually supported me,” she said.
The love story behind the Olympic gold medalist and her coach
Mixing business with pleasure is somehow tricky, according to Hidilyn Diaz and Julius Naranja, her coach and boyfriend.
Coach Julius answered, “it takes a lot of sacrifices. It is not easy.”
Hidilyn said they keep their focus on their goal. Coach Julius is excellent and a very patient person. He supports me, knowing that I have a high standard insofar as training and competition are concerned.
But did they see each other to be living together forever? And Coach Julius answered in the affirmative. “It’s a Yes.”