AFTER dozens and dozens of engagements – from media interviews and guests to sponsorships and publicity and photo ops – that made her busier than a bee, Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz flies to Malaysia on Saturday to resume training.
His next goal? The gold medal of the world championships which is still missing from its string of collections.
“Malaysia is a great place to recalibrate Hidilyn [Diaz] rather than Manila because everything is still close here, ”Julius Naranjo told BusinessMirror on Monday. “So we will first see what happens in Malaysia. It’s going to come back to pure focus and work there. “
Diaz and part of her team – now commonly referred to as Team HD for Team Hidilyn Diaz – have been locked up in Malacca, Malaysia, from February of last year until July when they flew to Tokyo for the Olympics. .
While there, Diaz trained without any distractions with the Malaysian and Malacca governments and the country’s weightlifting federation showed courtesy to the now first Philippine Olympic gold medalist.
The world championships take place from December 7 to 17 in Tashklent, the capital of Uzbekistan where Diaz officially qualified for the Tokyo Olympics during the Asian championships last April.
“It’s the one that’s missing,” Diaz told BusinessMirror when, along with boxing silver medalists Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio and bronze medalist Eumir Felix Marcial, were shown their brand new homes in Tagaytay City by the President of the Philippine Olympic Committee, representative Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino in August.
Diaz was already an Olympian at 17 when she was a wild card in Beijing in 2008 and attended the next two Olympics in London and Rio de Janeiro. But it wasn’t until 2018 in Jakarta that she won her first gold medal at the Asian Games, and in 2019 in Subic when she secured her first title at the Southeast Asian Games.
Naranjo admitted they need to refocus immediately as he takes on the role of Diaz’s head coach. They have let go of Chinese coach Kaiwen Gao, who has long demanded after Tokyo to return home to his family in Beijing.
He said he was ready to take on the challenges as a head coach.
“It’s never easy to transition to the head coach position. But I think the pandemic has given me the opportunity to really take the lead, ”he said. “I worked a lot during the pandemic to really work on Hidilyn’s schedule and do all the necessary work that a head coach normally does. “
Naranjo said Diaz always made sure to lift weights and sweat while she attended her various outings.
He added that the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi and the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou in 2022 are also on their schedule.
Without Gao, Team HD is now one less member with Naranjo taking on the head and strength and conditioning coach position, Jeaneth Aro remaining as a sports nutritionist and Karen Katrina Trinidad as a sports psychologist.