Hidilyn Diaz clinches Tokyo Olympics berth, finishes fourth in Asian meet

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 18) – 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz formalized her entry to the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday after competing in the 2021 Asian Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

The Zamboangueña lifter's participation in the tournament, whether she landed a podium finish or not, was enough to book her fourth straight Olympic outing after meeting the International Weightlifting Federation's requirement of competing in five tournaments to earn points in the world rankings and qualify for Tokyo.

Diaz joins pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Carlos Yulo, and boxers Irish Magno, Eumir Marcial, Nesthy Petecio, and Carlo Paalam in the roster of Filipino athletes competing in the 32nd edition of the Olympiad from July 23 to Aug. 8.

Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas President Monico Puentevella lauded the achievement of Diaz, who also represented the country in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

"Let's move on to the ultimate challenge, the Tokyo Olympics. Her mission tonight was not to win, but to qualify," said Puentevella.

Diaz finished fourth overall with a total of 212 points, a point shy of bronze medalist Muattar Nabieva of Uzbekistan. World record holder Liao Qiuyun of China took home the gold with 222 points while her compatriot Li Yajun bagged the silver with 221 points.

Diaz hurdled the 90kg lift in her second snatch attempt and comfortably cleared the 94kg in her third attempt.

The 30-year-old Filipina weightlifter successfully lifted 118kg in her first clean and jerk attempt but failed to clear the 121 and 122 kg lifts in her succeeding tries.

Earlier in the day, Hidilyn's cousin Mary Flor took home three silvers in the women's 45kg category.

RELATED: Mary Flor Diaz wins three silvers in Asian weightlifting tilt

Aside from the Diaz cousins, two Filipino weightlifters also competed in other events of the Asian weightlifting tilt.

Cebuano lifter John Fabuar Ceniza settled for third place in Group B of the men's 61kg but failed to advance to the event final. On Saturday, Boholano weightlifter Eileen Rose Perez finished last in a field of 10 in the women's 49kg division.

Other Filipino lifters like Margaret Colonia, Elreen Ando, John Dexter Tabique, 2019 Asian juniors champion Vanessa Sarno, and 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Kristel Macrohon are scheduled to compete in the tournament that will last until April 25.