Hidilyn Diaz skips Asian Championships

MANILA – Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo will skip the forthcoming Asian Weightlifting Championships, a qualifier for the Paris Olympics.

It will be recalled that the 32-year-old lifter from Zamboanga had leg cramps while competing in the 59kg category at the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Grand Prix held in Doha, Qatar from Dec. 4 to 14 last year, PNA’s Jean Malanum reported.

Diaz-Naranjo delivered the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal when she ruled the women’s 55kg category in 2021. She also topped the same category at the 2022 World Championships in Bogota, Colombia.

With the 55kg category excluded in the Paris Summer Games, Diaz-Naranjo moved up to 59kg where she hopes to qualify again for a fifth Olympics appearance. She won the silver medal in Rio (2016).

Meanwhile, those who will see action in the Asian Championships scheduled from Feb. 3 to 10 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan are siblings Rose Jean (W45kg) and Rosegie Ramos (W49kg), and 2019 SEAG champion Kristel Macrohon (W71kg) of Zamboanga City; Lovely Inan of Angono, Rizal (W49kg); 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games bronze medalist Elreen Ann Ando (W59kg) of Cebu City; and two-time SEAG gold medalist Vanessa Sarno of Bohol (W71kg).

Also joining the trip are Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas (SWP) president Monico Puentevella as head of delegation and coaches Ramon Solis, Patrick Lee, Richard Pep Agosto and Kelle Kay Rojas.

The five athletes also competed at the Grand Prix in Qatar, but only the 18-year-old Rose Jean Ramos made the podium, bagging the silver medals in snatch (70kgs), clean and jerk (85kgs) and total (155kgs).

After the Asian Championships is the World Cup slated March 31 to April 11 in Phuket, Thailand where the Filipinos are expected to join since it is the last Olympic qualifier.

The Top 10 lifters will earn a quota place for their respective country and bodyweight category through the IWF Olympic Qualification Ranking tournaments from Aug. 1, 2022 to April 28, 2024.

The Paris Olympic Games will be held from July 26 to Aug. 11, 2024.