Hidilyn Diaz (AFP)

Weightlifting Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz aired her sentiments in the ongoing rift between fellow Olympian EJ Obiena and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) during Monday’s Senate hearing held online.

Diaz, who was present to support Obiena, emphasized the importance of respect and communication between two parties to resolve their issue.

She recalled a similar instance where she had disagreements with her association and its president, Monico Puentevella, a few years back but they decided to sit down and talk to settle their issue.

“Hindi po ito problema lang ng isang atleta like EJ (Obiena),” Diaz said.

“Naging practice po ito simula po dati. And buti na lang, me and Sir Monico, nagkaayos po kami and we chose to communicate with each other for the better of sports and ayun nga po, nauwi namin yung gold medal sa Olympics.”

Diaz, who also won silver in the 2016 Rio Olympics, said part of her Olympic success was the fact that she and her association were united in their goals and that Puentevella listened and responded to her needs as an elite athlete.

Diaz believes there are procedures and protocols that were needed to follow, but teamwork is crucial not only for the success of the athlete, but also in the sport in general.

“Alam kong ginagawa nila yung best nila para makatulong sa aming mga atleta kasi last time nagkaroon ng problema sa liquidation, sa requesting, pero at the end of the day, nag-uusap kami ng NSA (National Sports Association), nagko-communicate kami,” she said.

Diaz also said each kind of athlete has different needs.

“Communication po talaga ang kailangan. Siguro din yung respect to the athlete kasi as an athlete, kailangan din pong malaman ng mga NSA officials kung ano ang kailangan ng mga atleta lalo na sa mga elite level,” she said.

“Kasi iba ang pangangailangan ng grassroots, iba sa youth at junior, iba rin po sa elite.”

Being an elite athlete, particularly those training and competing abroad, endures more pressure and expectations as far as Diaz is concerned, and she hopes sports officials understand this.

Some members of the Senate, sports officials and athletes were present in the Senate hearing that saw Obiena and Patafa presenting their sides on the issue of alleged misuse of government funds.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2022/02/08/diaz-tells-obiena-and-patafa-communication-is-key-to-resolve-rift/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=diaz-tells-obiena-and-patafa-communication-is-key-to-resolve-rift)