Olympian Hidilyn Diaz online trainings feed families in the Philippines

MANILA: filipina Weightlifting star Hidilyn Diaz I noticed that the live concerts were raising money for coronavirus relief and was struck by inspiration: why not raise funds with a online training ?

Since then, the Olympic silver medalist, and strong contender for her country's first Games gold, has earned enough money to buy food packages for hundreds of affected families in the country. Philippines .

Díaz has done it all from Malaysia, where he was training to qualify for the now postponed Tokyo Olympics when much of the world faced the virus in March.

I thought (the distribution) would be impossible because I am not physically present, Díaz, 29, told AFP.

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It is good that you have trusted trusted friends and family who understand why we need to do a fundraiser.

That circle of supporters has delivered the packages, which include vegetables, eggs and rice, to more than 400 families.

The food was purchased with donations from some 50 people who joined sessions lasting up to three hours and were given a rare opportunity to train with an elite athlete.

Diaz rose to fame in 2016 after snagging a surprise silver in the 53 kilogramme category in Rio, becoming the Philippines ' first female Olympic medallist and ending the nation's 20-year medal drought at the Games.

Two years later, he won gold at the Asian Games in Indonesia.

However, his quest to qualify for Tokyo is on hold before the rescheduled opening of the Games in July 2021.

I thought all the hard work would end soon ... then it spread, he said. But I'm still thankful that I can continue (the training) that I need to do.

Still, the lockout broke her daily training regimen, keeping her off the weights for 14 days for the first time in her career.

I felt like I was already losing my mind. I have been carrying the bar for 18 years and suddenly it is gone. Those were the types of anxiety he felt, he said.

But she had access to some teams and, at the insistence of her coach, went back to work. She was relieved to discover that her strength was still there.

Instead of a Tokyo berth, the past months have been about a different kind of accomplishment for Diaz: helping her countrymen get through the coronavirus crisis.

Rosemelyn Francisco's family in the city of Zamboanga, Díaz's hometown, is one of the first to receive help from the athlete's initiative, and is deeply grateful.

For starters, her family was not wealthy, and the pandemic has cost her husband her construction work.

The food he donated has everything we need, including eggs, said Francisco, 27.