THERE were no confirmations yet but it looks like lifters Hidilyn Diaz and Nestor Colonia are well on their way to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Diaz and Colonia, the country’s top female and male lifters, will train in Fujian, China, for 71 days and return to Manila just a week before the opening of the Games on Aug. 5 to 21.
The International Weightlifting Federation has granted the Philippines a quota place in the women’s division with Diaz, who vied in the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Games, the most likely entry.
There’s no spot allocated for the country yet in the men’s category.
Diaz and Colonia are set to leave for China on Friday with national coach Dondon Aldanete.
They will head straight to the Fujian Sports Center where the best Chinese lifters honed their skills with world-class coaches.
The quota place for the Philippines was approved after the recent Asian Championships in Uzbekistan where the 25-year-old Diaz pocketed one silver and two bronze medals in the women’s 53-kilogram category.
Diaz led the national women’s team to fifth place in the team classification of the continental competition.
The pride of Zamboanga City is currently ranked fourth in the IWF’s 2016 Olympic Qualification Ranking List in her weight class after grabbing three bronze medals in the world championships in Houston, Texas, last year.
Colonia got a bronze in the clean-and-jerk of the 56 kg category, but it wasn’t enough for the male Filipino lifters to net a quota place.
Fifth in the Olympic rankings, Colonia could still book a ticket to Rio de Janeiro with a strong finish in the individual qualification.(J. Navarro, INQ)