JASIN (Bernama/PNA) – The gold-medal success of Hidilyn Diaz, the weightlifter from the Philippines who made history by bagging her country’s first-ever Olympic medal at the Tokyo Games, is also the pride of her foster family in Kampung Kesang Tua here, with whom she stayed for more than a year.
The lifter’s foster father, Ahmad Janius Abdullah, 50, who also helped train her, said the 30-year-old weightlifter’s recipe for success was her determination, focus, and burning ambition to win an Olympic gold medal.
Ahmad Janius, who is also the deputy president of the Malaysian Weightlifting Federation (MWF), said his decision to help the lifter from Zamboanga City, who won the gold medal in the women’s 55kg class, was based on the spirit of sportsmanship and good ties between the Philippines and Malaysia.
He said Hidilyn, or better known as Hidi, had stayed at Teratak Muhammedar, which became her home and training center, with two of her personal trainers since September 16 last year.
“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 10am to 1pm and 5pm to 7pm daily, apart from focusing on her studies at night,” he said when met by reporters on Tuesday.
He also described Hidi, who made her fourth Olympic appearance at the Tokyo Games, as a very highly disciplined athlete, especially when it came to her food and training, adding that she would measure every portion of her food intake.
He said he also had the opportunity to send Hidi and her team to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to catch a flight to Tokyo for the Olympics on July 18.
“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. I also advised her to do her best in the snatch discipline as that’s her weakness. I’m glad she took it seriously and performed excellently to bag the gold,” he said.
He said he felt proud and was touched that although Hidi received widespread acclaim and worldwide coverage, she never forgot to thank them at Teratak Muhammedar and Malaysia right after bagging the gold.
He added that he was informed that Hidi, who loves to eat “Asam Pedas Melaka” and “durian IOI”, will return to Melaka in the near future.
Hidi, who came to Malaysia to train in January last year, found herself stranded here following the Covid-19 pandemic and had trained at various venues, including the Desa Pandan Sports Complex and the National Sports Council in Bukit Jalil. (Bernama)