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Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo Takes Training to a Distraction-Free Zone

Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo prefers to stay out of the limelight and silently work her way up.

The country’s only Olympic gold medalist left for Bahrain and embarked on a two-week training camp in the capital city of Manama to keep her in tip-top shape in time for another crucial Olympic qualification meet.

Diaz-Naranjo intends to close in on a record fifth consecutive Olympics next year in Paris through the 2023 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Grand Prix in Doha, Qatar, on Dec. 2.

The Doha meet will be the fourth of five Olympic qualifiers in her bucket list that Diaz-Naranjo should complete.

“We don’t want any distractions during training and there’s no better way [to achieve that] than to train abroad,” said Diaz-Naranjo.

She needs to be in the top 10 of the women’s 59-kilogram category after these five qualifying meets when the IWF Olympic Qualification Rankings come out on April 28 to snatch that spot going to the French capital.

Right now, Diaz-Naranjo, who ruled the 55 kg in record fashion during the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, is tucked within qualifying range.

The Zamboanga City lifting heroine, who likewise bagged a silver medal in 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, was forced to move up to 59 kg where she finished 7th among 49 competitors in the 2023 IWF World Championships in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, two months back.

Diaz-Naranjo and her coach-husband Julius Naranjo also picked Manama as their launch pad ahead of the Saudi world championships and the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, last September.