FILIPINO Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz

PHILIPPINE sports history is littered with athletes who made hay and earned a lot in their prime, but wound up with little, or worse, nothing to show for when their careers were all said and done.

It is this kind of predicament that Olympic gold medalist and top weightlifter Hidilyn F. Diaz wants to avoid and for fellow athletes and other people to learn from.

“I’ve seen so many athletes who after their careers didn’t have anything to turn to. They focused more on their ‘wants’ and not on their ‘needs,’ which is really sad. I don’t want that to happen to me and to the current and future athletes,” said Ms. Diaz, 30, in a press conference hosted by BDO Unibank on Wednesday where she was introduced as the bank’s new brand ambassador.

She went on to share that she has put in a lot in her chosen path as an athlete and does not want them to go to waste.

“There is still life after sports and we have to be ready for it. Whatever we are getting right now, we have to use it properly in preparation for the future not only for ourselves, but also for our loved ones,” she said.

Ms. Diaz received a huge windfall both from the government and private sector for making history by winning the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Games this year.

Such blessings only further underscored for her the need to be financially responsible with her earnings, something she admitted to be doing with help from like-minded people and organizations like BDO.

“The worst investment as an athlete is to be with people who don’t share the same goal as you. It will be a waste of time,” said Ms. Diaz, who is a Business Management student at the College of Saint Benilde.

“It’s important to establish a good relationship and trust with people and organizations who can help us make sound decisions in terms of our finances, like where to invest our hard-earned money and provide services that we could use that suit our needs. It is something I found in BDO,” she added.

Apart from the weightlifting gym she put up in Zamboanga City where she hopes to produce future medalists in the sport, Ms. Diaz has plans of setting up different businesses, like restaurants and a café, saying “I’m dreaming big.”

She is also studying investing in stocks and bonds with help from a financial adviser.

“My journey as an athlete started as a dream. I just went for it. So I encourage others to dream high as well, but also be discerning on their choices and decisions, including financially,” Ms. Diaz said.

“In our case, we will not be forever athletes. So we have to invest in our future as well so that we can reap the fruits of our hard work the best way possible.” — Michael Angelo S. Murillo