Led by Diaz, Weightlifting eyes record 7 Olympic berths | Inquirer Sports
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TOKYO 2020

Led by Diaz, Weightlifting eyes record 7 Olympic berths

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 04:02 AM December 27, 2019

Philippines’ Hidilyn Diaz celebrates her gold medal finish at the 55kg weightlifting at the 30th SEA Games 2019. INQUIRER PHOTO/ Sherwin Vardeleon

The only sport that has consistently qualified in the past three Olympics is seeking to field a record seven weightlifters in the forthcoming 2020 Tokyo Games.

With Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz and fellow Rio Olympian Nestor Colonia closing in on another stint in the quadrennial global Games, chances are favorable that the Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas (SWP) can send female lifters Kristel Macrohon and Elreen Ando to Tokyo as well.

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SWP president Monico Puentevella is likewise pinning his hopes on Maryflor Diaz, John Ceniza and Jeffrey Garcia to make it with two more qualifying tournaments to go in a span of four months.

“As of now, our lifters have finished all four legs with two to go. We will participate in the world championships next month in Rome and end their qualifying round in Kazakhstan come April,’’ Puentevella said. “Then God will do the rest.’’

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Diaz aims to formally book an Olympic ticket for the fourth consecutive time when Filipino lifters see action in the Roma 2020 World Cup from Jan. 27 to 31 and the 2020 Asian Weightlifting Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, from April 20 to 25.

The International Weightlifting Federation has made the sport attractive the past three years after allowing a lifter to join six qualifying events all over the world in a tournament of his or her choice.

Puentevella said the best four scores of the lifter out of six qualifiers will be consolidated and eventually only the top eight lifters in the world will punch a ticket to Tokyo.

“This will be historic once we send seven lifters to the Olympics,’’ said Puentevella, the only Filipino to become president of the Asian Weightlifting Federation. “We would not be able to bring in more qualifiers without the all-out support of the Philippine Sports Commission and our private sponsors MVP Sports Foundation and Ayala Land.’’

Already assured of spots in the Olympics are pole vaulter EJ Obiena and world champion gymnast Carlos Edriel Yulo. Skateboarding ace Margielyn Didal, judoka Kiyomi Watanabe and Diaz are still trying to get in. INQ

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TAGS: Hidilyn Diaz, Weightlifting
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