By Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – Huwag tayong sumuko.
This was the advice stressed by the first Filipino Olympic gold medalist, Hidilyn Diaz, to Filipino athletes during her visit here on September 10, 2021.
Diaz was welcomed by the provincial government of Negros Occidental as an adopted daughter of the province by virtue of a resolution passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in a special session on September 9.
She was accompanied by Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas (SWP) president Monico Puentevella and coach-boyfriend Julius Naranjo.
The resolution stated that the entire Filipino nation is proud of the achievement of Diaz, a weightlifter, for bragging pride and glory to the Philippines in the recently concluded 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games.
The province acknowledged the hard work, determination, and focus of Diaz to win the country’s first Olympic gold medal, the resolution said.
Diaz received the resolution signed by Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer, from former Governor Rafael Coscolluela and provincial administrator Atty. Rayfrando Diaz II at the Social Hall of the Provincial Capitol here.
Diaz thanked the provincial government for the recognition given to her.
“Hopefully ma-inspire ang mga kabataan, kasi walang impossible, kaya nating manalo, kaya ng Pinoy na mag excel,” Diaz said, adding that it is also important to trust God and work hard for the dream.
“Dito rin po ako nagsimula,” Diaz said as she recalled her past visits, where she joined the national and Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in 2004 and 2005 respectively conducted here.
“Hindi ko po nakikita na extraordinary ako, nakikita ko lang po ang plan ni God, ito po ibinigay sa akin and through sports ginamit ko ito to inspire others lalo na ngayon na pandemic, huwag sila sumuko,” Diaz said in a press briefing.
Diaz said it might be impossible at the beginning “but in the long run we can achieve our goal with the help of the people around us.”
She said sports knows no gender, as anyone can excel and can show to the world how good Filipinos are.
Meanwhile, Atty. Diaz said Negros Occidental is fully committed to develop athletes who can follow the footsteps of many sports heroes.
“We would like each and every young Negrense athlete to dream big and become champions also,” he added.
Atty. Diaz said the province is already in the process of arranging series of trainings, adding that the SWP has already donated weightlifting equipment to the province amounting to P600,000 to develop the program.
Meanwhile, Diaz urged the Filipino youth to register for the upcoming elections in 2022.
“May time pa to register, kung pipili po kayo, doon po sa candidates that can uphold their values,” she said, as she encouraged them to choose wisely.