SEA Games: Hidilyn Diaz-led PH weightlifting eyes five golds
MANILA, Philippines-With Hidilyn Diaz in tow, the Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas (SWP) has high expectations heading into the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Diaz, the country’s Olympic gold medalist, banners a seven-woman squad seeing action in weightlifting of the biennial meet slated from May 12 to 23.
SWP chief Monico Puentevella said claiming a maximum of five gold medals is attainable for this year’s SEA Games.
“Fearless forecast: I think minimum of two gold medals, and then we can compete for four or five golds. Maybe can get lucky. If God will give us more, why not? So minimum of two golds and maximum of four or five,” Puentevella said during the PSA Forum on Tuesday.
Joining Diaz, who will defend her 55 kg title, are Mary Flor Diaz (45 kg), Rosegie Ramos (49 kg), Margaret Colonia (59 kg), Elreen Ann Ando (64 kg), Vanessa Sarno (71 kg), and Kristel Macrohon (+71 kg).
Olympian Nestor Colonia (67 kg), meanwhile, spearheads the men’s team of six, along with Fernando Agad Jr. (55 kg), Rowel Garcia (61 kg), Lemon Denmark Tarro (73 kg), John Paul Padullo (89 kg), and John Dexter Tabique (+89 kg).
Puentevella cited Ando, Sarno, Macrohon, Ramos, and Colonia as among the potential gold medalists together with Diaz.
“You never know. Ramos at Colonia are young but they have that fight in them, and with all the training they have at Rizal Memorial, I feel they could get lucky because I know they also aspire to follow the footsteps of Hidilyn,” said Puentevella.
Among the men’s, Puentevella is not discounting the chances of Garcia, Tabique, and Colonia.
“For the men’s, we can pull surprises because these boys also aspire and dream. And they’re doing well in training,” said Puentevella, adding the country used to win gold medals in men’s weightlifting in the past through the late Jaime Sebastian.
Vietnam, Indonesia, and comebacking Thailand, which skipped the SEA Games three years ago after volunteering not to take part in the aftermath of the doping controversy that rocked the team, are the country’s biggest threats for the gold.
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