Hidilyn Diaz and Boyfriend Julius Naranjo Show That Working With Your Partner Can Be the Best Thing in the World
Talk about relationship goals!
It looks like a plot plucked out of a 90s romantic comedy. Last July 25, Hidiyn Diaz brought pride to the Philippines by bagging the country’s first gold medal at the Olympics. By now, the whole country knows who the guy running towards her after that last lift was: Julius Naranjo.
He is not only Hidilyn’s strength and conditioning coach, he is also her boyfriend of three years. Before coaching Hidilyn, Julius, who is Filipino-Japanese, also engaged in competitive weightlifting. In fact, it was through this that they met. “Coaching and weightlifting is a very important part of me, and I just got lucky that I met her,” Julius said.
He was first impressed by Hidilyn in the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan in 2017. “When I watched her first competition at that meet we were at, I was inspired to see her willpower, her way of really fighting towards the top, working hard, it’s such an inspiration,” he told Sports U in 2019.
Since he was in competitive weightlifting himself, he understands what she is going through more and on a deeper level. He says in a Magandang Buhay interview in 2019, “You go through her emotions, you have to deal with all of that, you have to deal with the physical pain she goes through herself. And also the losses.”
Julius added in his Sports U interview that it was really his goal to inspire her and help her reach her goal which was to win at the Olympics. “That’s what really drove me to set aside my own personal goals, to help her and the Philippines, somehow, in any way I could,” he shared.
Despite having her eyes dead set on her goals and priorities, Hidilyn still finds time to show her love for her partner. She explained to Sports U that it was Julius’ effort to make time for her and respect her priorities that made her appreciate his presence in her life even more.
She confided, “Kasi siyempre mahirap mahalin si Hidilyn Diaz. Kasi priority ko is God, weightlifting, family, medyo last siya. So tanggap naman niya na hindi siya masyadong priority and siya mismo ang nagbibigay ng time for me. Doon ko sya na-appreciate sa buhay ko.”
In a post Tokyo 2020 Olympics interview with Magandang Buhay, Hidilyn shared that before the Olympics, Julius talked to her, saying that God is the center of their relationship and that he believes in her. That gave her further confidence boost in the competition.
While some couples prefer to keep their career and personal life completely separate, these two prove that working—or in her case, training—with your partner can be the best thing in the world.
After winning the gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics—the first ever for the Philippines—Julius was in awe of how much Hidilyn has empowered young women from different parts of the world. Hidilyn is filled with gratitude for all the help and assistance she has been getting from Julius. But he is also grateful that she trusted him enough to bring her closer to her dreams and goals.
He writes, “Thank you Hidilyn for trusting and believing in me and my programming. It took a while to get there, but I am happy to see that the progress was made and we’ve achieved something great.”
In a separate Instagram post, Julius shared that after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, he is all the more inspired and motivated to push the other athletes he is coaching to participate at the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Lead photo from ABS-CBN News