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Ando carries cudgels for Diaz

Elreen Ando is taking it nice and easy as she gets ready for the 2024 Paris Olympics. | ISHARA S. KODIKARA/agence france-presse

Elreen Ando isn’t putting unnecessary pressure on herself following her qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“I’m not pressured. All I am thinking about is how to improve on my training especially for the Olympics,” the soft-spoken Ando said, brushing off talks she is fully focused on winning the gold in the 59-kilogram class when competitions take center stage from 7 to 11 August at the South Paris Arena 6.

She earned an Olympic berth after an effort of 228 kgs behind a snatch of 100 kgs and a clean and jerk of 128 to finish seventh overall in the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Cup in Phuket, Thailand.

The Paris stint will be Ando’s second Olympic appearance after winding up seventh as well in the 64 kg-class in the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

After her pet event the 64-kg was not included in Paris, Ando decided to drop to 59-kg and it worked wonders when she captured the gold medal in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia.

Proof that she made the right move surfaced when Ando placed second in the same weight class in the 2024 Asian Weightlifting Championships last February in Tashkent, Uzbekistan after a 213 kgs total.

Her inclusion on the ever-growing Philippine team to Paris was bittersweet as she watched Tokyo Olympics champion Hidilyn Diaz miss the chance to compete in her fifth straight Olympics.

Still she and Diaz are on good terms despite her success and Diaz’s fall from grace.

Diaz previously had an edge in the qualifying period after posting her best lift of 224 kgs at the World Weightlifting Championships last September before Ando surpassed her in the Thai tilt.

“It just so happened we were competing in the same weight category. It was because of Ate Hidilyn that weightlifting became well-known,” Ando said.

Aside from her, also assured of Paris slots are Rosegie Ramos and John Pabuar Ceniza, leaving Samahang Weightlifting Federation president Monico Puentevella tickled pink like never before.

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