Weightlifting has steady stream of talent to follow Hidilyn’s footsteps | Inquirer Sports
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Weightlifting has steady stream of talent to follow Hidilyn’s footsteps

/ 05:15 AM July 29, 2021

Despite getting a late call to be in the Tokyo Olympics, Elreen Ann Ando gave a respectable performance in the 64-kg division. —FRANCIS T. J. OCHOA

Just like billiards and boxing before, weightlifting should experience a boom right after Hidilyn Diaz’s golden performance in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics.

Samahang Weightlifting sa Pilipinas president Monico Puentevella felt that happening already five years ago when Diaz ended a 20-year-old medal drought in winning silver in the 2016 Rio Games.

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“That’s what we are hoping to achieve, for the sport to get a wider platform so more and more Filipinos will be interested in weightlifting,” Puentevella said.

Diaz was to arrive back home on Wednesday after her historic feat and is expected to be feted by a grateful nation.

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Puentevella said that while Diaz is still very young and capable of achieving more, the association made sure there is a steady stream of Filipino lifters wanting to follow in her footsteps.

Philippines' Elreen Ann Ando competes in the women's 64kg weightlifting competition during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo International Forum in Tokyo on July 27, 2021.

Philippines’ Elreen Ann Ando competes in the women’s 64kg weightlifting competition during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo International Forum in Tokyo on July 27, 2021. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP)

Among them is Cebu pride Elreen Ando, who finished seventh in her division in Tokyo.

“At 22, she’s making her first Olympics. Then with maturity three years from now in Paris and in Los Angeles in 2028, she will be a force to be reckoned with,” Puentevella said.

He said Ando is tracking the career trajectory of Diaz, who cut her teeth at the age of 16 in the 2008 Beijing Olympics before that silver.

Ando placed third in the World Championships in Rome, Italy, last year.

Also in the pipeline are young lifters from Diaz’s own stable in Zamboanga City: Rosegie and Rose Jean Ramos, who won gold medals in last year’s World Youth Online.

Joining them are fellow World Youth champ Vanessa Sarno of Bohol and Southeast Asian Games champion Kristel Macrohon.

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“The future of weightlifting is bright,” Puentevella said.

In fact, it shines as the gold medal that now dangles on Diaz’s neck.

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TAGS: PH Tokyo 2020, Tokyo Olympics, Weightlifting
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