Diaz, Didal launch Olympic medal bids on Monday

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At least two more Filipinos – Rio Olympics weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz and skateboarder Margielyn Didal – open their gold medal campaign in Tokyo on Monday.

They hope to join Filipina boxers Irish Magno and Nesthy Petecio, and gymnast Carlos Yulo who are advancing to the next round in their respective disciplines.

“It’s a lot of pressure,” Diaz said of her chances at the gold medal in her weight division where she will face world-record holder Liao Qiuyun of China.

Liao, at 26 and four years younger than Diaz, owns world records in the clean and jerk (129 kgs) and total lift (227).

Didal gets the opportunity for the gold medal on Monday in skateboarding, one of four sports making their debut in the Games—the others are surfing, karate and sports climbing.

“She’s alright and ready,” Didal’s coach, Daniel Bautista told a national daily. “She’s just chilling about.”

Didal has to contend with world Nos. 1 and 2 Pamela Rosa and Rayssa Leal of Brazil, No. 3 Aori Nishimura of Japan, Leticia Bufoni also of Brazilian and Momiji Nishiya are also the host country in the street event.

Meanwhile, Magno took a win at the start of the Tokyo Olympics campaign on Sunday at the Kokugikan Stadium in the Japanese capital after beating Kenya’s Christine Ongare.

Yulo also got a chance at a Tokyo Olympic medal after qualifying for the finals in the men’s artistic gymnastics vault event following the conclusion of the preliminary round on Saturday night at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre in the Japanese capital.

Yulo placed sixth in the vault with an average of 14.712 points after two jumps, well within the Top 8 cutoff.

And Petecio’s quest for a Tokyo Olympics gold got off to a good start on Saturday after she beat Marcelat Sakobi Matshu of Congo in the first round of the women’s featherweight boxing event at the Kokugikan Arena in the Japanese capital.

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