MANILA, Philippines --- Philippine Weightlifting Federation (PWF) president Monico Puentevella has high hopes the country can win a medal in women's weightlifting in the 2012 London Olympics following the inclusion of Hidilyn Diaz as a late addition to the Philippine Olympic team.
Diaz was named by the International Weightlifting Federation among several applicants for a berth for those countries which failed to have a lifter pass the qualifying tournaments.
Citing the feat of Thailand, Puentevella said: "If Thailand can produce one boxing gold (medal), and two golds in women's weightlifting in the last Olympics, there's no reason why we can't. It's just a matter of priorities," Puentevella said in a statement.
Puentevella had earlier said that Diaz's inclusion in the London roster was not true when it was announced by the IWF a few days ago.
Diaz, 20, earned a ticket after being ranked at No. 9 in the Olympic Qualifying List of the women's 58kg division. Diaz recently proved her mettle by ruling her weight class in record-breaking fashion at the Philippine National Games in Dumaguete City last month.
But the PNG is an event far removed from international competitions where Diaz has not had a record that would point to an Olympic medal.
She won a silver medal in the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia and placed fifth in the 2010 Asian Games in China.
Based on her recent records, it is difficult to imagine that Puentevella's very optimistic prediction would be taken seriously.
With less than 45 days left before the Olympics, Diaz will have little time to improve her performance.
But Puentevella, also the chairman of the Philippine Olympic Committee, said the association is looking forward and Diaz will be given foreign training after the Olympics with stints in China being mapped out for her and four other lifters as part of the PWF's program supported by the MVP Sports Foundation and the Philippine Sports Commission.