OLYMPIC gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz’s back in the very same home in Malacca where she, husband-to-be Julius Naranjo and then Chinese head coach Kaiwen Gao set up training camp for more than a year ahead of their successful campaign in Tokyo.
Kaiwen’s not with Team Hidilyn anymore, he’s gone back home to Beijing. But Diaz and Naranjo are focused on returning to serious training the moment they complete quarantines set by Malaysian authorities.
But for now, it’s going back to basics and toning and conditioning the mind and those muscles that won her the country’s first Olympic gold medal in July.
The world championships in Tashkent in December would be the focus, but not necessarily an urgent one.
“I want to go back to training—that’s all. I’m not sure about anything yet including the world championships,” Diaz told BusinessMirror in a message on Sunday. “I just really need to go back to basics, try to train six-to-seven days a week.”
Diaz was a very busy Olympic champion right after that fateful July 26 night in Tokyo when she not only won gold, but also booked Olympic records in the process. A windfall of incentives and rewards—cash, homes, condominium unit and vehicles—came her way and was busied for days by numerous commercial endorsements, photo and video shoots and television appearances.
She could only train three days a week at the most and couldn’t control her diet.
“Unlike before when I trained six to seven days a week, I just trained three to four days while I was in the Philippines,” she said. “I also forgot my diet. For many years, I prepared for the Tokyo Olympics, and I just wanted to enjoy it.”
Diaz admitted she’s undecided for the world championships, saying she’s not in a “good condition and her confidence level is very low.”
“We’ll see if I regain my strength,” she said. “There’re still a lot of world championships…not only this year but next year or next, next year.”
“So all I can for now is to work hard for it and then let’s see,” Diaz said. “The world championships gold medal is still my dream.”
Diaz has won gold medals at almost every available major international Olympics—Tokyo Olympics, 2019 Southeast Asian Games and 2018 Asian Games—but never the world championships.
“Now that I am here [Malacca], I hope I can set myself and ready to go,” she said.
Diaz and Naranjo arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday and headed directly to Malacca. It was in Malacca where she, Naranjo and Kaiwen were locked down in March last year and stayed there to prepare almost incognito for Tokyo.
She left Malacca only in April this year to complete the sixth and last qualifier for the Olympics—the Asian championships in Tashkent. She returned to Malaysia and flew straight to Tokyo in July.
“I love weightlifting so I will go for the SEA Games and Asian Games next year,” she said. “But for Paris 2024, let’s see because there’re qualifying tournaments for that.”