Late in her career, especially after a silver medal from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics amplified her voice, Hidilyn Diaz has made it a point to make good use of her status as an influencer in the world of sports.
Small wonder that on National Women’s Month, she is making herself heard again, urging the entire sports community to sustain its backing of female Filipino athletes who made the country really proud by winning various tournaments overseas in recent years.
“I choose to challenge our sporting community and fellow Filipinos to support our Filipina athletes as they break barriers in sports and make the Filipina known worldwide,’’ said Diaz, who earned the distinction of becoming the first woman athlete from the Philippines to capture an Olympic medal.
Aside from Diaz, women athletes from the national team have been getting the full attention of the public lately; golfers Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan, boxer Nesthy Petecio and skateboarding star Margielyn Didal, among them.
“Most of us have insecurities. Accepting and loving who we are is the way to appreciate ourselves,’’ said Diaz, sharing words of encouragement in line with the women’s month celebration.
The 29-year-old world and continental champion from Zamboanga City is on her way to an unprecedented fourth straight Olympics in Tokyo this July, and bringing home a shiny gold medal is her ultimate target.
“I have been continuously working hard to achieve that dream. I hope all my sacrifices will pay off,’’ said Diaz, who has set up in her own training camp in Malaysia since the COVID-19 health crisis began a year ago.
Diaz and her fellow women athletes will be given a special tribute by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for their achievements and contributions in the agency’s virtual programs this month.
Besides women athletes, PSC chair William Ramirez has also honored all women leaders, coaches, employees and mothers and emphasized their extraordinary roles in creating social change and development in the country.
“Today is an opportunity to reflect and admire women for their constant strength and resilience. Their help shapes us as persons and as a nation,’’ said Ramirez in a statement.
The PSC has been very active and consistent in its programs for women in sports even in the ongoing pandemic.
Led by PSC commissioner Celia Kiram, the agency has conducted a series of free online seminars to push its drive for gender equality and women empowerment. INQ
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