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SWP salutes Phl weightlifters

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF VANESSA SARNO JOHN Ceniza, Elreen Ando and Vanessa Sarno are expected to banner the country in the Paris Olympics.  

The Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas (SWP) tips its hats off to the local weightlifters who are now on the verge of seeing action in the Paris Olympics.

SWP president Monico Puentevella yesterday said he is happy for the three lifters — John Fabuar Ceniza, Elreen Ando and Vanessa Sarno — for getting strong chances to compete in the Summer Games after posting solid performances in the IWF World Cup in Phuket, Thailand.

Another local lifter, Rosegie Ramos delivered a good performance in the women’s 49-kilogram class but her Olympic fate depends on the decision of Nina Sterckx of Belgium, who qualified in both the 49-kg and 59-kg events.

Ceniza was also impressive after lifting 300 kgs in the men’s 610-kg event to bag the fourth place in the Phuket meet.

Ando and Sarno are also set to board the flight to Paris as they shone in the women’s 59-kg and 71-kg category.

Ando, for one, pulled off a shocker as she spoiled Hidilyn Diaz’s bid for a fifth consecutive Olympic appearance when she lifted 228 kgs in Thailand. Diaz, the country’s first ever Olympic gold medalist, bombed out of the Summer Games with a best lift of 224 kgs that she tallied in the 2023 World Championships in Riyadh last year.

The entries of Ramos, Ceniza, Ando and Sarno will be finalized after the qualification period on 28 April. The International Weightlifting Federation will make the announcement on 24 May.

Puentevella said the outcome of their impressive performance is a result of hard work and solid planning that aims to deliver medals for the coming Paris Olympics and the Los Angeles Games in 2028.

“Twenty years ago, we started with one lifter for the Beijing and London Olympics. Brazil followed with our first silver medal and we had two. Two years ago, in Tokyo we also had two lifters again and Hidilyn won the gold medal after 97 long frustrating years,” Puentevella said.

“Now we have three qualified and possibly another one for Paris come August. And we promise you more for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. Praise the Lord.”

Should Ramos make the Olympic cut, the Philippines will be parading its biggest delegation in weightlifting history.

The last time the Filipinos had three representatives was in 1988 in Seoul with Gregorio Colonia, Samuel Alegada and Ramon Solis seeing action.

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