Sarno, double regional champ, tagged as Diaz’ heir apparent | Inquirer Sports

Sarno, double regional champ, tagged as Diaz’ heir apparent

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 05:01 AM April 23, 2021

Vanessa Sarno beams at the podium during the awarding ceremony. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/PHILIPPINE WEIGHTLIFTING

Vanessa Sarno knew the gold medal in the Asian Championship was already in the bag right after her second attempt in the clean and jerk, and just like that, also announced her coming as the heir apparent to four-time Olympian and weightlifting heroine Hidilyn Diaz.

A 17-year-old from Tagbiliran City in Bohol, Sarno pushed the envelope in the women’s 71 kilogram final in Tashkent late Wednesday, winning with plenty to spare to become the reigning junior and senior champion of the region that speaks volumes of her potential to take over when Diaz calls it a career.Sarno ruled the Asian junior/youth tilt as a 15-year-old in 2019, just when she was learning the ropes of weightlifting.She lifted 124kgs on her second try in the clean and jerk, an effort that quashed the golden hopes of Turkmenistan’s Gulnabat Kadyrova and Yekaterina Bykova of Kazakhstan, before challenging herself to 128kgs.

Sarno’s final lift put her safely ahead with a total of 229kgs that resulted in a pair of gold medals after carrying 101kgs earlier in the snatch, which was good for a silver.Kadyrova claimed silver medals in the snatch (102kgs) and total (223kgs) after settling for the bronze in the clean and jerk (121kgs), while Bykova placed third in the snatch (91kgs) and total (213kgs) following her silver in the clean and jerk (122kgs).

Ripe for Paris

“She (Sarno) will be one of our bets in the (2024) Paris Olympics,” said Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas (SWP) president Monico Puentevella, who reacted to an Inquirer report earlier this week that Diaz shouldn’t have apologized for finishing out of the medal in her weight class.“Hidilyn need not apologize in the first place. Our game plan was just to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, not necessarily to win a medal [in the Asian meet],’’ said Puentevella, although it was Diaz herself who said that she wouldn’t take the Asian Championship as a mere formality to make it to Tokyo.

“Hidi won a gold in the world championships in Rome [last year] and this is only the Asian championship. What expectations? To win a medal and get injured in the process?’’ added the SWP head.

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TAGS: Asian Championship, Hidilyn Diaz, Tashkent, Vanessa Sarno, Weightlifting

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