“From gold to diamond”: Hidilyn Diaz gets engaged to long-time coach and partner

The engagement ring perfectly captures Diaz’s Olympic victory too!

"From gold to diamond": Hidilyn Diaz gets engaged to long-time coach and partner
(Images from Instagram: @iamnoelferrer/ @maniladiamonstudio)

The Philippines’ first-ever Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz achieves another milestone as she announces her engagement to her coach and partner Julius Naranjo, the couple announced on Saturday.

“I’m grateful to God that He sent Julius into my life, he makes my life easy,” Diaz wrote in a post on Instagram. “Alam ng iba kung ano mga sinasakripisyo niya para maabot namin ang pangarap na ginto sa Olympics together with Team HD.”

Nung laro kinilig at masaya ako kasi siya mismo nagsabi God is the center of our relationship. Kaya walang duda magye-yes ako dahil swerte ako may isang Julius [na] nagmamahal, nag-intindi, at sumuporta sa’kin,” the weightlifter added.


A Guamanian weightlifter with a Japanese lineage, the 30-year-old Naranjo started coaching Diaz in 2017, a year after the latter kicked off her chase for Olympic accolade with a silver finish in the 2016 Games in Rio. The pair spent the initial pandemic lockdown training in Malaysia, which led to Diaz clinching the country’s first Olympic gold medal.

Even as the two spoke of romance, their beloved sport still shone brightly through Naranjo’s custom-made engagement ring. Care of Manila Diamond Studio, the ring boasted a golden barbell crowned by a diamond, with the words “Tokyo 2020” engraved on the band’s inner layer. 

According to its crafters, the ring incorporates Diaz’s “love, strength, and passion.”


In a separate Instagram post, Diaz disclosed how Naranjo popped the question by tricking her into going on a triple date. According to Diaz, they were supposed to have dinner with actress Iza Calzado and beauty queen Precious Lara Quigaman and their respective partners to serve as a send-off before they fly out to Malaysia. Right after finishing their meal, Naranjo knelt on one knee and asked for her hand in marriage.


It was last July when Diaz shared that she’s ready to be married and is just waiting for her coach-boyfriend to break the question to her. “Ako gusto kong magpakasal. Gusto ko. Pero siyempre, hinihintay ko siya,” Diaz told ANC then. 

The newly engaged couple is set to fly out to Malaysia to resume training for the world championships in Uzbekistan this December.

Art Daniella Sison

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