Way off expectations

Hidilyn Diaz was apologetic for a performance in the Asian weightlifting championship that saw her land outside of a medal finish this country that has embraced her so much has gotten used

4/20/2021 3:35:00 AM

Hidilyn Diaz was apologetic for a performance in the Asian weightlifting championship that saw her land outside of a medal finish this country that has embraced her so much has gotten used to. | junavINQ

Hidilyn Diaz was apologetic for a performance in the Asian weightlifting championship that saw her land outside of a medal finish this country that has embraced her so much has gotten used

She became the seventh Filipino that will see action in Tokyo after pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo and pugs Eumir Marcial, Nesthy Petecio, Irish Magno and Carlo Paalam.Diaz admitted to feeling uneasy in her first attempt at 90 kilograms in the snatch after being away from a world-class meet for a long time and training only by herself in quarantine for the past 14 months in Malaysia.

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The 30-year-old lifting celebrity from Zamboanga City ended up hoisting 94 kg as her best effort in the snatch, giving Chinese Qiuyun Liao (98 kg) and Yajun Li (101 kg) the opportunity to pull away early together with Uzbekistan’s Muattar Nabieva (99 kg).

Trying for a second time in the clean and jerk at 121kg, Diaz could have cornered at least a bronze medal, but she hesitated on going all the way.“I already knew the technique that should be done and that one second of doubt on the jerk didn’t help,” said Diaz. headtopics.com

Agonizingly shortLiao seized the gold medal after hoisting 124 kg in the clean and jerk for a total of 222 kg, Li assembled 221 kg for the silver and Nabieva got the bronze at 213 kg.Diaz, whose last tournament was a triple-gold medal performance in the 2020 Roma World Cup early last year, was a kilogram shy from the podium with a total of 212 kg following her 118 kg in the clean and jerk.

ADVERTISEMENTShe attempted at 123 kg as a last-ditch effort, but was forced to let go midway into the lift.“I need more muscle memory and more confidence. I didn’t get a medal here, but I obviously needed the competition to know myself better,” said Diaz.

While Liao and Li present a serious threat to Diaz’s gold-medal bid in the Olympics, only one of them can represent China in their weight class. Nabieva and fifth-placer Zulfiya Chinshanlo of Kazakhstan can be a hazard, too.“I will face most of the lifters who competed here in the Olympics. I have seen their (Chinese) strength and I have three months to make the adjustment,” said Diaz, who will return to Malaysia on April 23 for the final stretch of her preparation for Tokyo.

Meanwhile, Mary Flor Diaz, Hidilyn’s cousin, earlier pocketed three silver medals in the women’s 45-kg division won by India’s Jhilli Dalabehera.She had a total of 135 kilograms following a lift of 60 kg in the snatch and 75k kg in the clean and jerk. headtopics.com

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Cebuano John Fabuar Ceniza won’t go home empty-­handed either with a pair of bronze medals around his neck in the men’s 61-kg event. Ceniza placed third in the snatch (110 kg) and total (245 kg).Alexey Drozdov of Kazakhstan swept the three golds in the snatch (124 kg), clean and jerk (154 kg) and total (278 kg).

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