Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz shrugged off bashers’ comments after seeking funds for her 2024 Paris Olympics qualifying bid in a recent television interview.
Hidilyn Diaz, who bared that she is facing funding challenges anew as she gears for the Olympic qualifier, said she tries to understand those who said negative things about her, trying to understand them.
“God bless them,” said Diaz, who married her long-time boyfriend and conditioning coach Julius Naranjo.
Diaz will banner a lean-but-mean national weightlifting team in the International Weightlifting Federation World Championships set Dec. 5 to 16 in Bogota, Colombia. She only has to win a world championship gold medal to complete her collection.
Hidilyn Diaz funding for 2024
The country’s 31-year-old Tokyo Olympics heroine recently told some media members about her struggle to fund her training for her bid in the Paris 2024 Olympics, which includes her training and preparation for the Olympic qualifying. And when she does qualify, she would need funding for her training and preparation for the quadrennial meet.
Financial experts say she has reached P100 million in cash, non-cash incentives, and commercial endorsements for her Olympic feat.
Others, she said, thought that she already received several bonuses, awards, and sponsorships so she is capable of funding her own training.
In Filipino, Diaz said, “Others think, ‘You already won the gold. Use your winnings to fund yourself. But of course, how would you be able to save up for yourself, after your career, how will it go? It’s not sustainable if I use my winnings to fund [my training].”
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman Noli Eala expressed their support for the weightlifting ace.
Tolentino, also PhilCycling president, said Diaz’s bashers are not privy about the rigors of going through qualifying and winning in the Olympics. “It’s part of the Olympic journey and it must be supported [financially],” he said.
“We should remember that Hidilyn won the country’s first Olympic gold medal,” Tolentino added.
Eala, for his part, urged Diaz’s bashers to stop their “nonsense criticism.”
He said, “Hidilyn is considered a national treasure of Philippine sports. She brought unprecedented honor to our country. She will always have the support of the PSC.”
The PSC chief also called on Filipinos to stop the uncalled-for bashing of Diaz, saying that her seeking training funds only shows her determination to give another shot at victory for the country.
World’s third-ranked pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena said Diaz is not asking for something extra but, “just what’s minimum for her to fulfill her training and represent the Philippines to her highest capacity.”
POC Athletes Commission chairman Nikko Huelgas, a decorated triathlete, said Diaz’s online critics don’t really understand her predicament.
Huelgas said, “It’s really misunderstood and taken out of context. The financial status demands are of the highest standards to reach an Olympic gold medal. It’s a huge investment…not just about talent and hard work and planning, but finance as well.”
“Try to understand the situation at the Olympic level, it’s not easy. Just pray and believe that she can deliver another gold,” he added.