OLYMPIC silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz recently opened her weightlifting gym in Mampang, Zamboanga City as part of hear dream of helping kids learn the sport and turn their lives around.
“Primary purpose ko po talaga is gusto ko pong tulungan mga bata sa amin na ma-realize ang dream nila sa weightlifting. Sa weightlifting, posibleng magbago ang buhay nila at baka maging kagaya nila ako o baka sila pa ang mag-uwi ng gold medal sa Olympics,” said Diaz, who ended a 20-year medal drought in the Olympics with her silver in weightlifting, achieved during the Rio games.
The Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Athlete of the Year revealed that it pains her to see budding lifters in her hometown training in a cramped gym built with sub-standard facilities, prompting her to make a better one.
She also built the gym near her “students,” so that they won’t spend for transportation going to and from it.
Diaz said that the chief instructor of her gym is regional coach Allen Jayfrus Diaz, a cousin, plus a couple of senior weightlifters from whom she also learned the fundamentals.
“Kapag umuuwi ako sa Zamboanga, tinuturuan ko ang mga bata and ina-advice ko sila kung ano mga kailangan nila i-improve at palakasin. Minsan din via Facebook group na lang, doon ko tinitignan ang mga mali nila sa training at sinasabi ko doon kung anong correction and dapat gawin,” said Diaz.
The St. Benilde student, however, still isn’t done yet. She feels that in order to fully become operational, her gym needs more equipment, such as rubber mats and barbells. She said Pioneer, Bosch and Bank of the Philippine Islands promised to help.
“Marami pa pong kailangan, sana po ang matulungan ako ng mga kababayan natin na makumpleto ang gamit sa gym,” said Diaz, who can be reached through her Facebook account.
Diaz said that she maybe studying now through a scholarship grant and is also involved with her weightlifting gym, but she is still, first and foremost, an athlete.
“Sobrang hirap, pero training pa din po ang priority ko, then school. Pangatlo ang social media para mag-connect sa mga bata,” said Diaz.