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Puentevella targets four Olympic bets


The Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas believes the composition of the team in the women’s 59-kilogram event in the 2024 Paris Olympics could be decided at the IWF World Cup in Phuket, Thailand from 31 March to 11 April. 

Weightlifting chief Monico Puentevella said both Tokyo Summer Games gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz and 32nd Southeast Asian Games champion Elreen Ando will be duking it out in the Thai tilt to determine who will make it to the Paris in July.

In the latest International Weightlifting Federation Paris 2024 Olympic Qualification Rankings, John Fabuar Ceniza (men’s 61-kg), Rosegie Ramos (women’s 49-kg) and Vanessa Sarno (women’s 71-kg) are all within the top 10 in their respective categories.

Diaz is also sitting in seventh place in the women’s 59-kg but after Ando clinched two silver medals last Monday at the 2024 AWF Asian Championships in Tashkent, things could get interesting down the road.

“As of now, looks like Vanessa Sarno, Rosegie Ramos, and John Fabuar of Cebu will most probably make it. The last to qualify will be a toss-up between Hidilyn and Ando which will take place in Phuket, Thailand, this coming first week of April,” Puentevella said.

“As of now, Hidilyn leads by a small margin. Which means around four lifters will represent us in the Paris Olympics, barring no injuries to all of these four.”

Diaz opted to skip the ongoing Asian tilt to prepare for the World Cup.

The 32-year-old athlete is aiming to be the first Filipino to play in five consecutive Olympics dating back to 2008 in Beijing. 

Meanwhile, Ando has made podium finishes in the buildup to Paris, winning the gold in the SEA Games, grabbing the bronze medal in the 19th Asian Games last October and the recent silver medal finish in the Asian Championships. 

Puentevella said the SWP has to plot its roadmap to Paris regardless of which lifter will go through after the final rankings have been unveiled.

“For all of you to understand better the rules for qualifying for the Olympics, a lifter has to undergo five events out of seven to qualify. At the end of the day, the International OIympic Committee will compute all the five best performances of all the aspirants and come up with the best 10 lifters for Paris,” Puentevella said.

“Planning is essential.” 

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