Rising stars Lovely Inan and Rosegie Ramos are in high spirits as they kick off the country’s campaign in the IWF World Championships on Tuesday in Riyadh.
Inan, a Southeast Asian Games silver medalist, and Ramos will see action in the women’s 49-kilogram event while John Ceniza competes in the men’s 61-kg in the second day of this competition that offers valuable ranking points for the Paris Olympics next year.
But all eyes will be on the showdown between Hidilyn Diaz and Elreen Ando.
Diaz, the country’s first Olympic gold medalist, is set to go all out in her duel with Ando on the women’s 59-kg event in a bid to cement her status as the best Filipino lifter.
Another weightlifting prodigy in former Asian champion Vanessa Sarno will campaign in the women’s 71-kg event together with former Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Kristel Macrohon.
Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas president Monico Puentevella assured that Sarno is fit to compete after a health scare during the 2023 Asian Weightlifting Youth and Junior Championships in New Delhi.
Sarno, 19, was given a
check-up upon returning to the country and was sponsored by no less than sports tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan.
Puentevella, who oversaw Diaz’s rise to an Olympic gold medalist, is also optimistic that more Filipino lifters will join her in the French capital next year.
“She (Sarno) is okay for now,” Puentevella said.
“As of now, weightlifting will be in the Paris Olympics. Hopefully, we get three or four lifters by the grace of God.”