Negros Occidental declares Hidilyn Diaz an adopted daughter
BACOLOD CITY – “Dream high, work hard, and trust in God.”
This was the recipe for success shared by weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medalist, to Filipinos who want to excel in whatever field.
Diaz who was declared an adopted daughter of Negros Occidental at the Capitol Social Hall in Bacolod City on Friday, September 10, donated P1 million of her prize money to purchase equipment for grassroots weightlifting programs in various parts of the country.
The Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas (SWP) earlier donated P600,000 in weightlifting equipment to Negros Occidental to train new weightlifting talents.
Asked how wealth and fame have affected her following her gold medal win, Diaz said “I go back to my core values which are God, sports, and family.”
She said she will continue with her weightlifting career and push other athletes to also achieve their dreams.
SWP president Monico Puentevella said there is a plan to construct a Hidilyn Diaz gym for the weightlifting athletes of Negros Occidental next to the province’s Multi-Purpose Activity Center in Bacolod City.
Diaz, who was accompanied by her coach Julius Naranjo and Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas (SWP) president Monico Puentevella, was presented a copy of the Negros Occidental Sangguniang Panlalawigan resolution naming her an adopted daughter, by provincial consultant Rafael Coscolluela and provincial administrator Rayfrando Diaz.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan, in its resolution, said the entire Filipino nation is proud of Diaz for bringing pride and glory to the Philippines through hard work, determination and focus.
Her coach and boyfriend, meanwhile, see their relationship to last a lifetime.
Asked when they plan to get married, Diaz said “In God’s perfect time.”
Naranjo, who is a Filipino-American weightlifter from Guam, said being a coach and boyfriend of Diaz “takes a lot of sacrifices and a lot of communication.”
“It’s not easy, but if you have something like bringing pride to the country as a goal then you are willing to do whatever it takes, to sacrifice whatever it takes to achieve something great. Everything paid off”, Naranjo said.
“We knew what we needed to accomplish to bring us where we are today,” he added.
Diaz thanked Negros Occidental for recognizing her win which she said would “hopefully will inspire the youth and the Filipino people amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“This is where I started,” she said, pointing out that she competed in the National Open in 2004 and the Southeast Asian Games in 2005 in the province.
She said her gold medal is proof that the Filipino can win in the Olympics and excel.
Diaz said she achieved her dream despite fears that the Tokyo Olympics would not take place amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We just have to trust in God and ourselves. We should work hard on our dream and not give up,” she said.
Diaz is now training for the world weightlifting championship in Uzbekistan on December 7, said Puentevella, former Bacolod mayor and representative.
She is also pursuing a degree in business management at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde.
The Olympic champion said she is thankful for the numerous awards she received after winning the Olympic gold medal which she did not expect.
“As an athlete, you aim to win not because of the financial rewards but for love of country and weightlifting,” she said.
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