By ADRIAN STEWART CO
Filipina weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo fell way behind of a medal finish in the 2023 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday, September 9.
The Zamboanga City-native Diaz-Naranjo, a gold medal winner in the 55-kilogram event in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, capped off her campaign in the women’s 59-kg category in seventh place.
The 32-year-old Filipina weightlifter’s 97-kg lift in the snatch category was good for 11th place, while her 224-kg lift in the clean and jerk was enough for sixth place in the category.
This was Diaz-Naranjo’s second competition in the 59-kg category after capturing a gold medal in the Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas’ National Weightlifting Championships in Bacolod City with a 217-kilogram lift.
Diaz-Naranjo opted to shift to the much heavier 59-kg category after the organizers of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris opted to scrap the 55-kg event, where the Filipina lifter captured her Olympic gold.
With her Saudi Arabia world stint over, Diaz-Naranjo has already completed three of the five required tournaments to make it to her fifth consecutive Olympics appearance next year.
There are two more mandatory tournaments lined up for Diaz-Naranjo — the 2024 Asian Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan from February 20 to 27 and the 2024 IWF World Cup in Phuket, Thailand from April 2 to 11, where she needs to stay within the top 10.
Diaz-Naranjo’s fellow Filipina lifter, Elreen Aldo, finished right behind her with a total of 222-kg lift — 100 kg in the snatch event and 122 kg in the clean and jerk event.
China’s Luo Shifang netted the gold in the category after tallying a total of 243 kg, Ukraine’s Kamila Konotop came in second with 236 kg, and Pei Xinyo of China ranked third with 232 kg.
Meanwhile, Filipino John Ceniza finished fifth in the 61-kg men’s division after netting 296 kg, while Rosegie Ramos landed seventh in the 49-kg women’s division./ASC, WDJ