*MITCH M. LIPA
Samahang Weighlifting ng Pilipinas president and former Bacolod congressman and mayor Monico Puentevella said they are planning to put up a weightlifting center in Negros Occidental to strengthen the province’s grassroots program for the sport.
The center will be called the “Hidilyn Diaz Gym”, in honor of the first Filipino Olympic gold medalist, said Puentevella during the Sept. 10 press conference with Diaz at the Provincial Capitol in Bacolod City.
Diaz, with her coach and fiancé Julius Naranjo, visited the province to personally accept the resolution passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan conferring her the title as adopted daughter of Negros Occidental.
Also during the press conference, Diaz encouraged the youth in the country to register and be counted in the 2022 elections.
She called on Filipinos to vote wisely and elect leaders, who uphold good values.
As a Staff Sergeant of the Philippine Air Force , Diaz said she can not endorse any candidate.
Meanwhile, Puentevella announced that Diaz will donate P1 million from her cash incentive to buy weightlifting equipment for the grassroots development of the sport.
“This gold medal that I won for the country is the best promotion for weightlifting. All we need to do is to believe in ourselves, to have faith that we can do it,” Diaz said.
She added that Bacolod City plays a significant role in her journey towards winning the Olympic gold.
Diaz recalled that in 2004, she was in the city competing in the National Games, and was back the next year for the 2005 Southeast Asian Games, co-hosted by Bacolod.
Also during the press conference, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz, who turned over the SP Resolution to Diaz along with Provincial Consultant and former Governor Rafael Coscolluela, said they are planning to design a year-round sports program for weightlifting to tap potential athletes in the province. — MML