SEA Games: Vanessa Sarno has ‘strong chance’ for weightlifting gold
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine weightlifting team coach Nick Jaluag believes Vanessa Sarno can surpass her personal record and win a gold medal in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam, which opens next week.
“She has a very strong chance to win the gold. She can surpass her personal best. During our training, she already beat her record from her stint in Uzbekistan,” Jaluag told Inquirer Sports during his virtual guesting with Sarno.
After lifting a total of 231 kilograms to place fifth in the 2021 International Weightlifting Federation World Championships last December in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, the 18-year-old Sarno is eyeing nothing else but the gold in her first-ever SEA Games stint.
“‘My only goal is to win a gold medal,” Sarno said in Filipino. “I will do everything to win my first gold in the SEA Games.”
Jaluag said their gold medal quest is an achievable for Sarno, who forced a three-way tie with Sweden’s Patricia Strenius and United States’ Olivia Reeves in third place but dropped to fifth via countback with 103-kg in snatch.
Sarno, the winner of 2020 Asian Championship in Tashkent also got the better of Thai rival Siriyakorn Khaipandung, whom she considers as her biggest threat in the biennial meet, in their last competition together in the World Championship, where the latter placed 11th with a total of 216 kgs.
“Her opponent from Thailand had a lower score during the Worlds in Uzbekistan,” the national coach said.
But that doesn’t mean the weightlifting prodigy will be complacent as Jaluag promised that his athlete is well-prepared after their consistent twice-a-day training at Rizal Memorial Sports Complex to keep Sarno in top shape.
“We train every morning and afternoon. She is in great condition. And we’re doing our best to avoid any errors or meltdown when the competition starts,” he said.
The weightlifter from Bohol is motivated to achieve her goal for her family and even do better than her world stint in the SEA Games.
“My motivation is my family and I am determined to surpass my performance in the World Championship. I am eager to do better in the coming SEA Games,” Sarno said.
Besides Sarno’s gold medal bid in her biennial meet debut, the Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas is also eyeing to surpass its previous two golds, three silver medals and two bronze medals in the 2019 edition.
“We will be happy to win more than two gold medals, which was our previous record from the last SEA Games,” Jaluag said.