The Philippine Sports Commission recently conducted the Women Sports Festival, an annual event in celebration of female athletes. This year, however, was a huge step forward in recognizing the rising number of even stronger Filipinas, with the addition of the Weightlifting event in the four day occasion. With 8 divisions and a total of 41 participants around Luzon, it was a display of novel power and an amazing showcase of modern, competitive, and fearless women.
Coach Pep Agosto (rightmost from the photo above), a former member of the national team and now a renowned weightlifting coach, was the man behind the Weightlifting event of PSC. In our recent interview, he could not keep his excitement as he tells us about the growing number of women into the sport. He shares with us his experience mentoring female weightlifters, “They seem to always brush it off, when they are hurt or when they fail, they just take a moment and pick up the bar again”.
Practicing philanthropy as the trainer for the Angono Weightlifting Team, he adds that it was not intended for the group to be composed of keen ladies. They started as a team open to men, too, but as the training progressed, only the female members stayed and he describes that their innate resilience and determination makes them flourish in lifting barbells.
With the win of Hidilyn Diaz at the 2016 Rio Olympics breaking the 20 year medal drought, weightlifting has been better known and enjoyed by Filipinas. Making us proud once again with her recent achievement at the AIMAG 2017 Women’s Weightlifting event, she embarks every female’s presence in the sport. With her focus and attitude in training fit for a champion, she has opened a lot of opportunities for women in our country and sparked unbreakable hope that women could do just about anything they desire.
We are surely decades away from the time when women are scared to lift or petrified of “too much muscle”. Female athletes are no longer only known in tennis or gymnastics. They search for perpetual equality and weightlifting is one of the sports where they thrive in achieving physical fitness, equivalence, and broken norms.