Diaz inspires next generation of athletes: 'Be better than me!'

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From the moment she started bannering the flag of the Philippines overseas to the time she made history in the 2016 Rio Olympics, Hidilyn Diaz has contributed a lot to the local sporting scene over the years. 

Despite all her efforts as a national athlete, the Filipina weightlifter is not done doing good deeds for the country. This time the champion weightlifter is bidding to inspire the younger generation of athletes down the path of sporting success. 

Hidilyn Diaz of Philippines competes in the women's 53kg weightlifting event during the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta on August 21, 2018. (Photo by MONEY SHARMA / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MONEY SHARMA/AFP via Getty Images)
Hidilyn Diaz of Philippines. (Photo: MONEY SHARMA/AFP via Getty Images)

Through a video she shared on social media, Diaz is calling on the youth to dare to dream. No matter how hard the circumstances are, she reminded that a goal can give purpose, meaning and even guidance to one's life. 

"Importante talaga na may pangarap kayo kasi ito 'yung magbibigay sa inyo ng direksyon," she bared. 

(Translation: "It is really important to have a dream because having one will give you direction in life.") 

True enough, before the 30-year-old Olympian became the decorated athlete that she is now, she was once a young dreamer in Mampang, Zamboanga City who had nothing but a simple goal of becoming an established weightlifter. 

But having a dream is simply not enough. As how Diaz put it, "Hindi naman puwedeng pangarap lang nang pangarap. Parang...pangarap mong pumunta dito pero kung hindi ka mag aaral, hindi ka magta-training, wala kang disiplina sa training, paano mo maabot 'yun?" 

(Translation: "Dreaming alone will not cut it. It is like...when you dream to get where you want to be but you never took the time to finish school nor train with discipline, how will you reach it?")

Diaz, the first Filipina to ever win an Olympic medal with silver in the 2016 Rio Games, also emphasized the need to train smart as an athlete, putting a premium on having ample rest, self-care and a positive mindset. 

More importantly, she appeals to the next generation of sporting talents to embrace the grind and love everything about being an athlete of the Philippines. 

"Be more determined and disciplined and do it because you love it," said Diaz. "Ito 'yung pangarap mo at gusto mo 'to gawin dahil mahal mo ang ginagawa mo, mahal mo ang Pilipinas, mahal mo ang sports mo, at nakita mo ang value ng sports (This is your dream and you're eager to realize it because you love what you're doing, you love the Philippines, and you love and see the value in sports.)" 

She then chimed in, "Of course, never, ever give up on your dream." 

In hopes of providing more grounds of inspiration for Filipino athletes, Diaz, who is gearing up for her fourth Summer Games appearance in the Tokyo Olympics later this June, poses an endearing challenge to the youth. 

"Young generation ng mga atleta (Young generation of athletes), dream high! Be better than me! Sana kayo na ang susunod na makapaglaro sa Olympics (I hope you'll be competing next in the Olympics)."

Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.

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