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Diaz-Naranjo gets closer to Paris target lift

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Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo

Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo’s target lift for the Paris Olympics will remain a secret for now. —AFP

Diaz-Naranjo gets closer to Paris target lift

But the nation’s sports heroine would rather keep her cards close to her chest and let her performance do the talking.

“I’m already at 90 to 95 percent and I expect to achieve that goal in my next competition and also during the Olympics proper,” said Diaz-Naranjo during the recent Women In Sports Awards Night held at Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila.

Diaz-Naranjo, the first Filipino Olympic gold medalist who triumphed in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games, is gearing up for the International Weightlifting Federation World Cup on March 31 to April 11 in Phuket, Thailand.

It will be her last Olympic qualification meet to formalize her entry in the Paris Games, Diaz-Naranjo’s fifth consecutive appearance in the global quadrennial sportsfest.

“I have to exceed myself in the Olympics. I should be more than a hundred percent ready,” said Diaz-Naranjo.

The 33-year-old double Olympic medalist was recognized as a Flame Awardee during the women in sports awards for her feats.

Joining Diaz-Naranjo in that exclusive category were billiards world champion Rubilen Amit, Asian Games skateboarding gold medalist Margielyn Didal, volleyball star Alyssa Valdez and mountain climber Carina Dayondon.

But accomplishing her target lift in Paris is no easy task for Diaz-Naranjo, who is aiming for a third consecutive Olympic medal after breaking the ice with a silver in 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics.

Tough progress

The pride of Mampang, Zamboanga City, has been pushing herself after moving up to the 59-kilogram class from her Olympic-medal weight category of 55 kg.“I encounter not a few frustrations because making progress is very, very tough,” said Diaz-Naranjo.

“But this is what I love and my passion. I want to win the gold medal again in the Olympics for the country and for the people,” she added.

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Training daily in her own facility in Jala-Jala, Rizal, with husband Julius, Diaz-Naranjo is dead set on surpassing her total career best of 224 pounds to seal another Olympic stint and push her into the medal picture in the glamorous French capital this July. INQ

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