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PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PSC Vanessa Sarno comes up with a strong showing to boost her chances of making the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Add the name of Vanessa Sarno on the growing list of Filipino weightlifters who have bolstered their chances of making grade for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Sarno, the reigning Southeast Asian Games champion, topped Group B of the women’s 71-kilogram category Sunday to cap the country’s quest in the International Weightlifting Federation World Cup in Phuket, Thailand.

Sarno, one of the prime candidates to make it to the Paris alongside Rosegie Ramos and Elreen Ando and John Ceniza, did a snatch of 110 kgs, a new Philippine record, and a clean and jerk of 135 kgs for a total lift of 245 kgs.

But the Bohol native’s best lift during the qualifying period was at the IWF Grand Prix II in Doha last December where she finished with a total lift of 249 kgs behind a snatch of 108 kgs and a clean and jerk of 141 kgs.

Sarno is currently ranked at No. 5 in the Olympic rankings and has a good chance of making the grade for this year’s Summer Games which opens 26 July.

Meanwhile, SEA Games gold medalist Kristel Macrohon finished in seventh place with a snatch of 103 kgs and a clean and jerk of 130 kgs for a total lift of 233 kgs.

As of press time, weightlifters in Group A are slugging it out for the last chance of getting into the top 10 of the Olympic qualifiers for an outright berth in the biggest sports spectacle in the world.

Ando also showed her wares after a total lift of 228 kgs, her best in the qualifying period, to bolster her rank in the women’s 59-kg category and ousted Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz’s best lift of 224 kgs last September in the 2023 IWF World Championships in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Ceniza is also poised to compete in the French capital after his best lift of 300 kgs in the men’s 61-kg event of the World Cup.

Ramos might be currently outside of the top 10 despite a total lift of 191 kgs in the women’s 49-kg event.

But she can make it if Nina Sterckx of Belgium, who qualified for both the women’s 49-kg and 59-kg, picks the latter category by next month.

The qualification period ends on 28 April and the Philippines is on the verge of sending its biggest weightlifting delegation to the Olympics and eclipsing the three-man 1988 Seoul Games delegation of Gregorio Colonia, Samuel Alegada and Ramon Solis.

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