By ADRIAN STEWART CO
Filipina weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz returns to the Summer Games for the fourth straight time after earning a qualification to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics slated this July in Tokyo, Japan.
Diaz formalized her entry into the Olympics with her participation in the 2020 Asian Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on Sunday night, where she placed at fourth in the women’s 55kg category.
The Zamboanga-native Diaz earned the Tokyo Olympics qualification after completing the requirement of participating in at least six eligible events in the three qualification periods.
This will be an opportunity for Diaz to break the country’s thirst for an Olympic gold medal after taking home the silver medal during the 2016 Rio Olympics. Diaz also competed in the Olympics in 2008 in Beijing, China and in 2012 in London, England.
The 30-year-old Diaz, who is fifth in the world rankings in the women’s 55 kg class as of the moment, became the seventh Filipino athlete to earn a qualification to the upcoming Tokyo Games.
Others who were qualified to the Summer Games were pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo, and boxers Eumir Marcial, Ilongga Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio, and Carlo Paalam.
Hidilyn’s cousin Mary Flor Diaz, meanwhile, also made her mark in the competition after bagging three silver medals in the women’s 45 kilograms category but the event is not part of the Tokyo Olympics.
Mary Flor bowed to Indian lifter Jhilli Dalabehera in all of their three competitions with the Filipina having 60kg in snatch as compared to Indian’s 69kg, 75kg in the clear and jerk as to the latter’s 88kg and 135-157 in the final count.
Cebuano lifter John Fabuar Ceniza, meanwhile, failed to advance to the finals of the men’s 61kg division, while Boholano weightlifter Eileen Rose Perezfinished last in a field of 10 in the women’s 49kg division./ASC, WDJ