PH weightlifting chief projects at least 3 golds in SEA Games
MANILA, Philippines–Weightlifting chief Monico Puentevella is confident that Filipino lifters can bring home at least three gold medals from the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Sure of going atop the podium in Puentevella’s list are Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn and fellow Tokyo Olympian Elreen Ando as well as 18-year-old Vanessa Sarno, the reigning Asian champion in the women’s 71kg.
“That’s three already,’’ said Puentevella, president of the Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas, in an appearance on “Power and Play.’’ “We have a good program and we never stopped training even during the lockdown.’’
That gold projection will top the team’s output back in 2019 when the SEA Games was staged at home.
“Here (in 2019), we already have two, two gold medals and three silvers,’’ said Puentevella, a former Philippine Olympic Committee chairman and commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission.
Back then, Diaz captured the gold in the women’s 55kg division, and Kristel Macrohon ruled the women’s 71kg category. Ando seized a silver medal in the women’s 64kg as well as Margaret Colonia in the women’s 59kg.
“The competition in the men’s category is tough, but we will try. We have new male lifters that we can rely on. I’m hoping one or two will win some medals in Vietnam,’’ said Puentevella, a past Bacolod City mayor and representative.
John Ceniza claimed a silver in the men’s 55kg while Rio de Janeiro Olympian Nestor Colonia (67kg) and Mary Flor Diaz, Hidilyn’s cousin, (women’s 45kg) both pocketed bronze medals.
Philippine weightlifting has a big pool of lifters scattered across the country and has three major training grounds in Cebu, Bacolod and Zamboanga City where national coaches have been dispatched to monitor their progress.
“I have about 12 national coaches, and I have about 30 girls. So every province where there is a good performance, we have a national coach,’’ said Puentevella.
“We participate every time there’s an international event. It doesn’t matter if we lose, because this is what Hidilyn had to go through. Hidilyn had to suffer, until she won the gold,’’ added Puentevella.
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