Like a Daughter: Hidilyn Diaz's Foster Family in Malaysia Shares Stories About the Olympian

Her team got stuck in Malacca during the lockdown.

hidilyn diaz
PHOTO BY instagram/hidilyndiaz ILLUSTRATION War Espejo

( Hidilyn Diaz's journey to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics wasn't easy. In 2019, she was accused of being part of a destabilization plot matrix presented by then-Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on national television. Her father was also accused of being part of a coup d'etat conspiracy for "wearing putshcist Magdalo Group apparel." The family worried about their safety, besides the fact that Diaz had to solicit financial support for her Summer Olympics 2020 bid. While training for the international sporting event, she got stuck in Malaysia because of the lockdown. Fortunately, the four-time Olympian and two-time Olympic medalist found people who could help her during those difficult times: her foster family in Kampung Kesang Tua in Malacca, where she stayed from September 2020 until her team left for Tokyo in July.


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Diaz initally went to train in Kuala Lumpur in the first quarter of 2020, but faced COVID-19 restrictions within weeks. Gyms were closed, leaving her with no access to weightlifting equipment and a proper facility to train. Her team was stuck in an apartment for months and made do with water bottles and a bamboo stick as a training alternative.


By the ber-months, Diaz and her two coaches moved to the southern coastal town of Malacca, where Ahmad Janius Abdullah—who happens to be the deputy president of the Malaysian Weightlifting Federation—took the weightlifter in. While there was a nearby gym that she was able to use for a few weeks, another lockdown forced her to train in the Malaysian's backyard with make-shift equipment.


"Hidi is very fastidious and will ensure that every training equipment and the facility is in proper condition and arranged accordingly, including the smallest details. She always says that she wants to win the Olympic gold medal and she diligently undergoes her training routine from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily, apart from focusing on her studies at night," Abdullah told reporters, as quoted in an article by Malay Mail.

He also described the Filipina athlete as very disciplined, measuring every portion of her food intake. Abdullah advised Diaz to persevere in her snatch technique, which later paved the way for her gold-winning performance.

"My relationship with Hidi is like that of a father and daughter. Although she calls me ‘sir’, I always ensure that all her needs in the house are sufficient," he added.

Diaz returned to the Philippines in the evening of July 28, Tuesday.

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