Vanessa Sarno wins three golds in Asian youth weightlifting tilt despite illness | Inquirer Sports

Vanessa Sarno wins three golds in Asian youth weightlifting tilt despite illness

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 08:29 PM August 02, 2023

Vanessa Sarno SEA Games 2023

FILE–Philippine weightlifter Vanessa Palomar Sarno. –REUTERS/Cindy Liu

Vanessa Sarno passed out due to high fever at the intensive care unit of a local hospital in New Delhi, India.

Four days later with her health gradually improving, the 19-year-old lifting prodigy seized the women’s 71kg title at the end of the 2023 Asian Weightlifting Youth and Junior Championships on Wednesday without a hitch.


“I don’t want to miss this opportunity. I wasn’t feeling well the past few days, but I really wanted to compete,’’ said Sarno, who netted all three gold medals in her weight class.


The current Southeast Asian Games record-holder and 2020 Asian champion from Tagbilaran City, Bohol lifted 95kgs in the snatch and 121 in the clean and jerk for an untouchable total of 216.

Though Sarno’s output was far from her usual self of ordinarily hoisting 105-135-239 in the three events at the most, the golden performance was enough to position the Philippines as the best in the continent with 19 gold medals in one week.

“We just told her to rest, but she insisted on competing. Vanessa has the heart of a lion,’’ said Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas president Monico Puentevella.

Team Philippines will likewise bring home 10 silver and four bronze medals with 10 out of the 11 athletes sent and backed by the Philippine Sports Commission, the MVP Sports Foundation and SM winning at least a pair of medals.

Thailand’s Phattharathida Wongsing placed second to Sarno after managing to clinch all three silvers with a 92 in the snatch, 120 in the clean and jerk and 212 in the total.

According to Puentevella, they suspected that Sarno had an infected throat upon their arrival at the Indian capital last week.


Sarno’s fever was so high that she fainted at the hospital. Sarno stayed there overnight before Puentevella decided to bring her back to the hotel where she rested over the next three days.

“We were asked to sign a waiver after we insisted on her release,’’ said Puentevella, who was accompanied by coach Julius Naranjo at the hospital.

“Vanessa’s health is improving, but we will immediately ask for a complete checkup with the physician of the PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) when she gets back home. We want to know if there’s really something wrong,’’ he added.

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Sarno is one of the nation’s brightest hopes for a podium performance in the 2024 Paris Olympics, having placed second in the Asian championships three months ago in Jinju, South Korea.


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