TOKYO—Gao Kaiwen, the weightlifting coach who reshaped Hidilyn Diaz into a gold-winning Olympian, has asked for his contract to be terminated so he can go home to China and see his family, Monico Puentevella, the president of the Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas said on Sunday.
“By next month, the coach will already leave for China,” Puentevella said. “He has asked that his contract be ended. He will just take his salary for the last month and then leave for China.”
Gao was being paid $2,500 monthly in a contract that was supposed to run until December.
“He wants to see his family because it has been almost two years since he last saw them,” Puentevella
Just recently, Philippine Sports Commission chair William “Butch” Ramirez said he was uncertain about Gao continuing his stint with Diaz because “all the eyes of the weightlifting world” are on him now.
Puentevella said that once Gao leaves, coaching duties will be assigned in the interim to Julius Naranjo, Diaz’s strength and conditioning mentor.
Gao has been largely credited as a huge reason for the improved form of Diaz, who became the first Filipino athlete ever to win a gold medal in the Olympics.
“For the meantime, Julius will be the head coach until we can find a suitable replacement,” Puentevella said.
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