The silver medalist weightlifter talks about her preparation for the coming Summer Olympics, her mission for the country, and being a ‘mandirigma’ in the modern world

LABAN PARA SA PINAS Filipino wightlifter and airwoman Hidilyn Diaz

If there’s anything noteworthy about the pandemic, that would be seeing the many faces of the modern-day warrior. They are the reliable delivery riders who bring take-out orders right to every doorstep. They are the cautious transport drivers who take commuters to their desired destination. They are the mindful pharmacists who make sure to give the correct medicine and its dosage. They are the countless volunteers and community pantry organizers who may not necessarily be endowed with much resources but have been willing to share their time and skills to help communities who need assistance. They and the thousand many others who exhibit courage and strength in facing life’s many adversities are the true treasures of society. They make living in the new normal bearable. Best of all, they give everyone hope for the future of humanity.

In honor of their meaningful contributions, trusted pain reliever brand Alaxan FR launched the “Mandirigmonth” campaign to recognize the men and women who exemplify hard work and perseverance despite the many hurdles that test their endurance and resilience. They are the ones who live out the #LabanLang spirit. These individuals received Laban Lang Gears containing essentials that will empower them in their commute or work to triumph over the challenges that come their way.

And while on the topic of the modern-day warrior, celebrated weightlifter and Alaxan FR brand ambassador Hidilyn Diaz is one shining example of having triumphed over adversities and successfully bringing pride to the country.

True warrior

Fresh from her recent win at the Asian Weightlifting Championship held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Hidilyn is in high spirits as she talked about her latest feat.

“Akala ko noong una, imposibleng magkaroon ng laro, imposibleng makaalis sa Malaysia, imposible na makaka-apak ako sa international platform, at imposible na ma-meet ko ang 6th Olympic qualifying competition na required para makapag-qualify ako sa Summer Olympics…(I used to think it was impossible to get out of Malaysia, it was impossible to step onto the international platform, it was impossible to qualify for the Summer Olympics.) With man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible,” said Hidilyn who finished 4th place in the competition with a record lift of 94kg in snatch and 118kg in clean and jerk.

Perhaps unknown to many, Hidilyn and her team of coaches were stranded in Malaysia since the first quarter of last year after its government declared a national lockdown because of the pandemic. She was all set to fly to Colombia to compete at the Ibero-America Open Championships 2020, which would have been her final Olympic qualifying competition, but all borders have been closed, competitions were either postponed or canceled, and athletes were sent home.

Unable to return to the Philippines, they were also faced with the big dilemma of how to continue her training. The answer came to them in the form of spacious parking lots, big plastic gallons filled with water, and heavy metal gates. These became her gym, weights, and monkey bars.

“Not being able to train and being stuck at home quarantine have been very difficult for me. But I must stay proactive and find ways to keep moving.”


With Tokyo 2020 happening in July, Hidilyn is back in the thick of her training. “My coaches are working together to make my program work for me and allow me to be in the best condition…They are also making sure I do not lose sight of our goal, that is, to bring home the country’s first-ever gold medal.”

Now more than ever, Hidilyn is steadfast on her mission as a modern-day warrior not just for herself but for her country. “I will remain focused and determined to improve every single day together with my team who prepared me and sacrificed a lot to represent the Philippines.”

Hidilyn was 17 when she began her weightlifting career. At 25, she won the silver medal from Rio 2016. Now at 30, Tokyo 2020 is her 4th time to qualify in the Olympics and she currently holds the second spot in the world ranking.

Who would have thought that Hidilyn’s curiosity in weightlifting would bring her this far?

“Nag-try na ako ng iba’t ibang sports pero medyo hindi maganda yung nagiging resulta ng laro, parati akong talo. Sa weightlifting, natatalo ko yung mga pinsan kong lalaki kaya sabi ko dito ako. Nag-start ako by curiosity. Ang ginagamit kong equipment yung barbell na semento. Sa weightlifting, na-feel ko na ito yung sports na gusto ko, ito yung mag-e-excel ako (I tried other sports, but the results were not good. I always lost. In weightlifting, I’d win over my make cousins so I said this must be my sports. I was curious, that was how it started. I would use homemade concrete barbells. I loved weightlifting. I felt it was a sport I could excel in).”

Hidilyn has never stopped training since. Her regular training would run six to 11 sessions a week enduring muscle soreness, mental breakdown, physical and even emotional fatigue.

“You know how it is in weightlifting. When you’re younger, the strength is there. When you get a little older, you start feeling body pains. More often than not, in all parts of your body, there’s pain.

Sometimes even your brain hurts because weightlifting is also a mental game! When you’re not focused, it affects your performance,” she says.

It is during these instances that Hidilyn seeks help from her trusted body pain reliever. “Just one Alaxan FR and the fight against body pain is over. In no time, I’d be up and ready to train the next day,” she says.

Alaxan FR is a product of pharmaceutical and health care company, Unilab. It is doctor-recommended and proven for different types of body pain. It is also a trusted brand by modern-day warriors like Olympic-medalist Hidilyn.

The champion weightlifter has a reminder to all modern-day warriors, community pantry organizers, and the likes, especially those who are struggling in the new normal: “Use this pandemic to prepare and become better so you can achieve your dreams, especially the youth of today who are just about to start their lives. ‘Wag susuko kahit mahirap (Never surrender, even if it’s hard. Laban lang (Fight!)!”

Source: Manila Bulletin (