Hidilyn banners PH world meet contingent
Philippine weightlifting has been attracting a lot of attention on a global scale lately and it won’t be any different in the coming 2021 International Weightlifting Federation World Championships.
Besides Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz, Team Philippines will be represented by three other gold-medal prospects in Vanessa Sarno, Elreen Ann Ando and Kristel Macrohon in the Tashkent, Uzbekistan, meet on Dec. 7 to 17.
Diaz, who holds the Olympic record of 224 kilograms in the total, is again entered in the women’s 55-kg division where she struck gold in the Tokyo Olympics after pulling off a major coup against world champion Liao Qiuyun of China.
Liao ruled the 2019 edition in Pattaya, Thailand, by setting world records in the clean and jerk (129kgs) and total (227kgs). Back then, Zhang Wanqiong of China got the silver and Diaz placed third.
The 18-year-old Sarno, the current Asian champion in her weight class, and Macrohon, the Asian championship bronze medalist in the women’s 76kg, are both entered in the women’s 71kg.
Ando, who made it to the Tokyo Olympics with Diaz after her silver medal in the women’s 64kg of the 2020 Asian championship in Tashkent, will slide to the women’s 59-kg division.
World youth champion Rose Jean Ramos didn’t make the final lineup since she shares the same weight category (women’s 45kg) as the seasoned Mary Flor Diaz.
“They are all capable of winning the gold medal in their respective weight classes and they have been pushing themselves really hard in training to achieve the goal,’’ said Monico Puentevella, the president of the Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas.
In defending the choice to send Mary Flor instead of Rose Jean, Puentevella said: “They have the same weight category, [but] Mary Flor also holds a better record.’’
Other Filipino lifters who will seek medals in the Tashkent world champs are Elien Rose Perez (women’s 49kg), Margaret Colonia (women’s 64kg), Fernando Agad (men’s 55kg), John Febuar Ceniza (men’s 61kg), Dave Lloyd Pacaldo (men’s 67kg) and John Dexter Tabique (men’s 96kg).
Joining the coaching staff of Robert Colonia, Richard Pep Agosto and Christopher Bureros is Julius Naranjo, Diaz’s personal mentor and strength and conditioning coach.
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