Young bets show PH weightlifting in good hands even after Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo
Each of the five bets the Philippines sent to the 2023 International Weightlifting Federation World Youth Championship brought home a gold medal, painting a truly great outlook for the country’s weightlifting chances in the Paris Olympics and beyond.
Rosalinda Faustino closed out a fruitful Team Philippines campaign in the world youth championships in Durres, Albania, on Tuesday with a gold in the women’s 55-kilogram (kg) category while adding a silver for good measure.
Faustino’s victory in the clean and jerk on the strength of a 100-kg lift, and a second-place finish in the total completed the team’s medal collection of seven golds, four silvers and one bronze at the end of the Filipinos’ campaign in the biggest assembly of world-class teen lifters on the globe.
“Based on our assessment and with what we’ve seen, these kids have the potential to become Olympians someday,” coach Greg Colonia told the Inquirer. With four more days of competition, the Philippines ended its stint currently atop the medal tally at 7-4-1 (gold-silver-bronze) with Vietnam far behind at 3-2-2.
Running third is Canada (3-1-2) while Taipei grabbed three golds for fourth followed by Colombia (2-2-0) and Turkmenistan (2-1-0).Angelina Colonia likewise picked up a gold in the snatch and a silver in the total late Monday in the women’s 45-kg division.
But what really signified remarkable things to come were the performances of Prince delos Santos, Albert delos Santos and Erron Borres, who gave the men’s lifting team something to look forward to in future high-wire events.
“If they continue to work hard and improve, they’ll probably be ready for the Olympic qualifying events beginning with the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics,” said the older Colonia, the uncle of siblings Angeline and 2016 Rio Olympian Nestor Colonia.
Prince grabbed two golds (snatch and total) and a silver (clean and jerk) in the men’s 49 kg while Borres pocketed a gold in the clean and jerk, a silver in the total and a bronze in the snatch in the same weight class.
It was followed by the double-gold feat of Albert in the clean and jerk as well as in the total of the men’s 61 kg.
“Our athletes prepared well for the world championships with the help of the coaches,” said Colonia.
Coaches Diwa delos Santos and Colonia joined the five-athlete delegation in the trip made possible by the Philippine Sports Commission, MVP Sports Foundation and SM.
“Five young lifters represented this country in the world youth championships and every one went home with a gold or two. This is our future. We’ve proven our point and we’re ready for (the Olympics in) Los Angeles 2028,’’ said Monico Puentevella, the Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas president.
The arrival of Delos Santos and Borres comes at a time when the women’s team has been consistently performing well beyond expectations in the continental and global competitions headlined by Tokyo Olympics gold medalist and world champion Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo.
“Our boys are catching up with the girls,” said Puentevella.
Fancied to be Diaz-Naranjo’s heirs are Asian champion Vanessa Sarno, Tokyo Olympian Elreen Ando, Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Kristel Macrohon and world junior gold performer Rosegie Ramos, among others.
After sliding to fourth place in the snatch, tied with Kazakhstan’s Darya Balabayuk at 78 kgs, the 15-year-old Faustino showed what she’s capable of by winning the clean and jerk on the strength of a 100-kg lift in her second attempt to beat Colombia’s Gelen Yulieth Torres Gomez.
Faustino wound up with a silver in the total at 178 kgs behind Torres Gomez’s 182.