Zamboanga weightlifter, 14, grabs her first international medal
Jeaneth Hipolito was only 8 when the lure of lifting metal plates attached to an iron bar dragged her into weightlifting.
Six years later, the 14-year-old from Zamboanga City snatched her first medal in the global scene that gifted the Philippines a rousing start in the 2021 International Weightlifting Federation Youth World Championship.
“I’m thankful for winning my first international medal. The level of competition is really different when you go out of the country,’’ Hipolito told the Inquirer in Filipino.
The Philippine Sports Commission Batang Pinoy champion lifted 52 kilograms on her third try in the snatch to pocket the bronze medal of the women’s 40kg category of the meet held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Hipolito won six gold medals in the previous Batang Pinoy Games, just three years after coach Allen Jayfrus Diaz discovered her.
“My dream is to become like ate Hidi (Hidilyn Diaz). She’s my idol, she inspires me to perform my best in training and in every tournament that I participate in,’’ said Hipolito.
Hipolito registered 48kg in the initial attempt but flubbed her attempt at 51kg. On her third try, she gambled at increasing the weight to 52, a risk that paid dividends.
Hipolito placed fourth in the clean and jerk with a best lift of 62kg and wound up fifth in the total (114kgs).
“International exposure is always good for our young lifters. They are the future of Philippine weightlifting,’’ said Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas president Monico Puentevella.
Ezgi Kilic of Turkey collected all three gold medals—55kg in the snatch and 70kg in the clean and jerk for a best total of 125kgs.
Lawren Sofia Estrada Velez of Colombia got the silver in the snatch (53kg) and Darly Marely Canto Colli of Mexico seized the same medal color in the clean and jerk (66kg).
In the total, Velez placed second and Colli third, both of them lifting a compounded tally of 118kgs.
Meanwhile, Adrian Cristobal and Albert Ian Delos Santos missed the medal podium in the men’s 61kg ruled by triple-gold performer Lampridis Konstantinos of Greece.
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