Emboldened by recent success, Puentevella eyes PH hosting of World Championships
The rapid rise of weightlifting in the country—initiated by Hidilyn Diaz ending the Philippines’ gold medal drought in the Olympics—has led to a welcome bonus: the respect of the international weightlifting community.
And being viewed abroad in a positive light has emboldened Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas president Monico Puentevella to bid for the hosting of the 2023 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Youth and Junior World Championships.
“I’m confident that we can win medals in the world championships, that’s why I’m inclined to bring the hosting here,’’ said Puentevella during the Philippine Sportswriters Association forum.
Bringing home the world tournament will allow Filipino weightlifters to compete before a home crowd, something they haven’t done since Diaz clinched that historic gold in last year’s Tokyo Olympics.
And Puentevella said the Philippines’ newfound status as an emerging weightlifting power gives the country a shot at nabbing hosting rights.
That status was further reinforced by the Filipinos’ “phenomenal” result in the recent IWF Asian Youth and Junior Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where the national team brought home 15 gold medals, two silvers and three bronzes.
Eighteen-year-old Asian champion Vanessa Sarno punctuated the scintillating output of young Filipino lifters over the weekend by sweeping all three gold medals in the women’s junior -71 kilogram category.
Seventeen-year-old Rose Jean Ramos grabbed three golds in the youth category of the women’s youth 40kg and another gold in the women’s junior 40kg.
Also capturing three gold medals and ruling their respective divisions were 18-year-old Rosegie Ramos (junior women’s 49kg) and 15-year-old Rosalinda Faustino (women’s youth 49kg) while 15-year-old Angeline Colonia snatched two gold medals in record-breaking fashion in the women’s youth 40kg.
“Winning 15 gold medals in the Asian youth and junior championships is awesome and phenomenal. We are now very respected as we bid for the world championships,’’ said Puentevella, who will submit the nation’s bid in the coming IWF World Championships in Colombia in December.
The World Championships is just another pit stop for the country’s top weightlifters as they forge a path to the next Summer Games.
According to Puentevella, Sarno is already ripe for the 2024 Paris Olympics where she could join reigning women’s 55kg gold medalist Diaz, Elreen Ando (64kg) and Kristel Macrohon (71kg) in the qualifying meets.
Puentevella, who was recently enshrined into the IWF Hall of Fame for his contributions to the meteoric rise of weightlifting in the country, said the Ramos siblings, Faustino and Colonia will be ready in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
“I know our beloved President [Marcos] will approve this because government support and assurance will be needed for us to host the event,’’ added Puentevella, a former Bacolod City congressman and a past colleague of Mr. Marcos at the House of Representatives.
Meanwhile, Puentevella, also a former chair of the Philippine Olympic Committee and an ex-commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission, said he would tap a new Chinese coach to help the elite weightlifting squad in its qualifying bid for the 2024 Olympics. INQ
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