PH lifter Diaz on track to make Rio Olympics

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Lifter Hidilyn Diaz is on track to nake her third straight Olympics stint. Inquirer file photo

By the looks of it, lifter Hidilyn Diaz seems headed for a third straight trip to the Olympics.

The 24-year-old pride of Zamboanga City made a clear case for herself after scooping three bronze medals Nov. 22 in the International Weightlifting Federation World Championship held in Houston, Texas.

Diaz lifted 96 kilograms in the snatch, 117 in the clean and jerk for a 213 total in the women’s 53kg division, good for third place behind champion Hsu Shu-Ching of Taipei and silver medalist Chen Xiaoting of China.

Though her output fell short of the 214 total - 96 in the snatch and 118 in the clean and jerk - she had in capturing three gold medals in the Asian Championship in Phuket, Thailand two months ago, Diaz is on track to punch a ticket to the Rio De Janeiro Olympics next year.

She cut down weight after competing at 58kg in the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics.

Hsu, silver medalist in the London Games, wound up second in the snatch with 96 behind Chen but ruled the clean and jerk (125) and total (221). Chen also registered 221 in the total after scoring 120 in the clean and jerk.

Diaz’s performance came on the heels of Nestor Colonia’s bronze medal in the same meet.

Colonia, who also grew up in Zamboanga City, placed third in the clean and jerk with 158 but finished fourth in the snatch (124) and total with 282 in the men’s 56kg category.

Philippine Olympic Committee 1st vice president Joey Romasanta, the country’s chef de mission in the Summer Games, said there was no confirmation yet if Colonia and Diaz had already qualified.

Before she left for Houston, Diaz said finishing in the Top 5 could land her an Olympic berth.

So far, only Filipino-American Eric Cray qualified to Rio de Janeiro after meeting the Olympic standard in the men’s 400m hurdles in a Cayman Island race sanctioned by the International Association of Athletics Federations early this year.

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