JASIN – Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, the first Olympic gold medallist from the Philippines, will return to continue her training in Kampung Kesang Tua, here, in preparation for the world meet in Uzbekistan in December.
Malaysian Weightlifting Federation (MWF) deputy president Ahmad Janius Abdullah said the Filipina is expected to arrive at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at 11.15 am tomorrow and undergo the 14-day quarantine at her residence.
“We will pick her up and head straight to Jasin (as) Hidilyn has made an online application to the Ministry of Health (MOH) to be quarantined at home.
“Hidilyn told me that she’s very happy to be returning here. The peaceful aura and atmosphere of the village makes her feel very comfortable and she wants to continue training at the same location,” he said when contacted by Bernama today.
Ahmad Janius, who is also the lifter’s foster father, said the garage that was renovated and turned into her training ground had been upgraded slightly for her comfort and safety.
He said that several parties had offered to move the training ground to a more comfortable place for Hidilyn but the 30-year-old lifter politely declined as she felt that the garage was more suitable for her.
“Actually, that is her wish. She told me what’s the point of moving to another place because this is the place she trained and won her gold medal. If she were to move, then she might as well go and train in the United States or Bukit Jalil… there are so many other places she can go to.
“Perhaps this village is more sentimental and closer to her heart after spending her time training here since last year,” he said.
Kampung Kesang Tua became the centre of global attention when Hidilyn won the gold medal in the women’s 55-kilogramme (kg) category at the recent Tokyo Olympics.
Hidilyn, who came to Malaysia to train in January last year, found herself stranded here when the travel ban was imposed following the COVID-19 pandemic and she then started training in the village.
The success of the weightlifter, who hails from Zamboanga City, was also the pride of her foster family in Kampung Kesang Tua, who even had the opportunity to send Hidilyn and her team to the KLIA to catch a flight to Tokyo for the Olympics on July 18.