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

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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.

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