KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian Weightlifting Federation deputy president Ahmad Janius Abdullah said he was touched when Hidilyn Diaz called him from Tokyo to inform him that she had won the Olympic gold medal, Harian Metro reported.
The foster father of the Philippines' first Olympic champion said the weightlifter had yearned for the gold and had proven herself now.
Ahmah Janius said Diaz had called him asking for a place to train and he decided to take her to his mother-in-law's house in Kampung Kesang, Jasin, Melaka, last September.
"The front garage was renovated and turned into her training ground until she left for Tokyo on July 18," he said. "I did not think she would tell the whole world that she had prepared herself at a village house.
"When she mentioned Melaka, I was really touched. She also told me that she intends to continue training here when she returns from Tokyo to prepare for the World Weightlifting Championships in December."
Although Diaz was fussy about her training, she was comfortable in the village and mixed easily with others, Ahmad Janius said.
"We are like family. Just before her event in Tokyo, I called her and asked her to be better in snatch as that is the category she was weak in. She is not stingy with her knowledge and also trained upcoming athletes at the same place."
The daily also said Diaz loved the spicy dishes, especially asam pedas.
"I can say that she's visited almost all the shops selling asam pedas in Jasin," Ahmad Janius quipped.