Philippine Olympic gold medalist’s boyfriend and coach is from Guam

Hidilyn Diaz and Julius Naranjo. (Hidilyn Diaz photo)

Like all Filipinos worldwide, Guam’s Filipino community cheered when Filipina weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medal in almost a century.

But not many people know that Hidilyn’s boyfriend and strength and conditioning coach, Julius Naranjo is from Guam.

According to his Wikipedia profile, Naranjo is a Guamanian weightlifter, coach, and filmmaker who competed for Guam in the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.

Naranjo had represented Guam’s National Weightlifting Team and is a record holder in the old 69kg weight category. He also represented Guam at the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan competing in the 62kg weight category.

A career-ending back injury forced Naranjo’s retirement. But after retiring from competitive weightlifting, Naranjo turned to coaching. During his coaching career, Naranjo was also managing a functional fitness facility and physical therapy clinic, where he had coached classes and did strength & conditioning for various clients including students and Guam national athletes.

According to Philippine media outlet GMA News, Hidilyn and Julius first met during a tournament in Turkmenistan back in 2017.

Hidilyn admitted that she wasn’t attracted to Julius at first, though Julius had a crush on her, GMA News reported. The two eventually grew closer and developed both a personal and professional relationship.

“I love weightlifting and she loves weightlifting and she loves representing [the Philippines] and doing everything she can to promote and to represent her country,” GMA News quoted Julius as saying.