Hidilyn Diaz admits losing sleep over pressure to deliver Olympic gold
MANILA, Philippines — Hidilyn Diaz became the sports hero of the century for the Philippines after ending the country's gold medal drought in the Olympics.
But before she was able to lift an Olympic record of 127kg in the clean and jerk to clinch the top place in the podium, Diaz needed to overcome both physical and mental challenges.
The 29-year-old looked back on the emotional hurdles she had to surpass to win sports' biggest honor during Under Armour's Webinar on Mental Toughness.
"As an athlete iniisip kasi ng iba na 'Malakas na yan', 'Makapagperform na yan', 'Prepared na yan', or sometimes may sabi nang sabi na 'Gold ka ha, gold ka, manalo ka ng gold' pero di nila alam every time na sinasabi nila na gold ka without knowing yung journey namin, binibigyan niyo kami ng pressure," said Diaz.
When she had clinched the silver in Rio 2016, the country suddenly had a prospect of ending a 97-year-old gold medal drought.
But unknown to most people, the expectations had put more weight on Diaz's shoulders than necessary.
"Minsan hindi kami nakakatulog, yun yung mga dinedeal ko as an athlete," said Diaz.
"Siguro ganun din ang ibang atleta… Napepressure kami tapos hanggang sa hindi kami nakakaperform," she added.
Fortunately for Diaz, she was able to bear the pressure on her extraordinarily capable shoulders and became the golden girl she is today.
Diaz is set to return to Malaysia later this month to get back to training in preparation for the World Championships in Peru scheduled for November this year.
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