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'Kami po ay taos-pusong nagpapasalamat sa inyo': Team HD gets emotional after Hidilyn Diaz's Olympic gold win

By CAMILLE SANTIAGO Published Jul 27, 2021 1:25 pm

Athletes win medals and earn all the praise (and endorsement deals). But behind every great athlete, there is a team of coaches and managers who help them find confidence, perfect their form and execution, and ultimately achieve victory.

After nearly a century-long drought for the Philippines, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz on Monday, July 26, became the first athlete in Philippine history to win an Olympic gold medal, and Team HD—composed of Chinese head coach Gao Kaiwen, strength and conditioning coach Julius Naranjo, psychologist Dr. Karen Trinindad, and sports nutritionist Jeaneth Aro—is beyond ecstatic about the victory.

Naranjo posted on Tuesday, July 27 that he is "overwhelmed" with the outpouring of support from fans.

"I’ll promise to try to respond to all of you and promise to post more about this incredible journey and my thoughts, as I am still processing it all. Thank you all for the support and your prayers," he captioned.

Coach Jeaneth Aro, the sports nutritionist of Diaz, thanked everyone who supported and believed Team HD.

In a social media post, she said that the end goal was really to "surrender" completely to God, not winning a gold medal.

"We acknowledged the hard work that every member of Team HD has put in but we also completely understood that none of the technic and skills training, the strength and conditioning training, the mental skills training and weight cut/recovery nutrition strategies will ever compare to the all sustaining power of the Almighty God," she wrote.

"Trust with each other is the foundation but faith in God is the cornerstone," Aro said. "This is the truth and the reason, nothing more and nothing less," she added.

Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian also congratulated the team and is "truly humbled to see that a Chinese coach has helped in making this historic win happen for the Philippines."

"Apart from trade and investment, China and the Philippines have had numerous cooperation in many fields and athletics is just one of them! Hope to see more fruitful outcomes in our future cooperation. Warm congrats once again to #TeamHD and Team Philippines," he wrote on Facebook.

But win or lose, Naranjo says that it's time for their team to "have fun" and "celebrate."

"Physically we are in the best shape, and mentally we are just about there. I told Haidie that 'we are as prepared as we can be and it’s time for us to have fun and let’s celebrate these last 5 years of hard work and sacrifices,'" he wrote.

Banner image by Vincenzo Pinto/AFP and from Julius Naranjo's Instagram (@iamjulius)