Hidilyn Diaz qualifies for Tokyo Olympics during Asian weightlifting championships

Filipina weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz has booked her ticket to a fourth Olympic Games where she'll bid to win the Philippines' first ever Olympic gold medal this summer.

By Ken Browne
Picture by 2016 Getty Images

Hidilyn Diaz has qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in summer 2021 at the Asian Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Diaz lifted a 90kg snatch on her second attempt and that was all she needed to book that ticket to Tokyo.

On the day Diaz faced a stacked field and finished in 4th place overall with a 94kg snatch and a 118kg clean and jerk.

The Rio 2016 silver medallist is on a mission to win the Philippines' first ever gold medal in any sport, after she became the first Filipina woman to win an Olympic medal in Rio.

It would be the crowning achievement of a lifetime's work spent breaking down barriers and blazing a trail for Filipinos in the sport of weightlifting.

According to the weightlifting qualification rules for the Tokyo Olympics, the top-eight in the world rankings in each weight category as of April 30, 2021, will qualify for the Games and at World No.2 Diaz is a safe seat on the plane.

The 30-year-old is now confirmed as the country’s seventh Olympic qualifier joining boxers Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio, and Carlo Paalam, world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo, and pole vaulter EJ Obiena.

Diaz finishes 4th in Tashkent

Diaz finished just off the podium in fourth place overall, her best lifts were a 94kg snatch and a 118kg clean and jerk.

It was a Chinese 1-2 at the top of the podium with Liao Quiyun lifting 98 and 124 kilos to defend her Asian title and two-time world champion Li Yajun second posting 101 and 120kg lifts.

Liao was third after the snatch but came up with the biggest clean and jerk to take the title.

Third place went to local Uzbek lifter Muattar Nabieva who was in second after a 99kg snatch, but could only manage a 114kg clean and jerk and she dropped from second to third overall.

Olympic tune-up

Diaz was taking no chances in Tashkent, she arrived on Tuesday to train and get ready for Sunday with her Chinese coach Kaiwen Gao, strength and conditioning trainer Julius Naranjo, and nutritionist Jeaneth Aro joined them the next day.

“It will serve as a tuneup for me going to the Olympics,’’ Diaz said before the competition, who hadn't competed since the Roma 2020 World Cup where she claimed three podium-topping finishes in the snatch, clean and jerk, and total.

“It’s difficult mentally when you are not able to compete in a tournament for more than a year,’’ she added.

“I have been continuously working hard to achieve that dream [of winning a Games gold for the Philippines]. I hope all my sacrifices will pay off,’’ Diaz stated.