Sarno, Ceniza to change narrative on rookie Olympians come Paris
PH LIFTERS

Sarno, Ceniza to change narrative on rookie Olympians come Paris

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 04:10 AM May 08, 2024

Officials will have Vanessa Sarno checked to determine the cause of her fever. —AFP

Vanessa Sarno —AFP

Vanessa Sarno doesn’t buy the popular view that she isn’t cut out to win an Olympic medal.

“Everybody says that competing in the Olympics for the first time is just for exposure. I want to break that mentality,’’ said Sarno during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday at the offices of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

The 20-year-old weightlifting pride of Tagbilaran City, Bohol, will see action in the biggest tournament of her life as a first time Olympian in the 2024 Paris Games in July.

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“I want to show that even a first-timer like me can win a medal,’’ said Sarno, the 2020 Asian champion in the women’s -71-kilogram category.

READ: Vanessa Sarno proves skeptics wrong with Paris Olympics slot

Based on the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Olympic Qualification Ranking, Sarno landed fifth overall in her weight class after the IWF World Cup held in Phuket, Thailand, last month.

She’s a strong medal contender behind top qualifier Olivia Reeves of the United States, China’s Liao Guifang, Angie Palacios of Ecuador and Loredana Toma of Romania.

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“I have to lift heavier plates both in the snatch and clean and jerk than usual. I’ll push myself beyond my limits with more than two months to go,’’ said Sarno.

Cebuanos John Ceniza (men’s 61 kg) and Elreen Ando (women’s 59 kg) likewise secured berths for the Paris Summer Games from July 26 to Aug. 11.

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Taipei camp

The Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas (SWP) will set up a training camp in Taipei under Chinese coach Gao Kaiwen, the winning coach of Hidilyn Diaz’s gold-medal breakthrough in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“He’s (Gao) in Taipei. I would like them to train there for a month, away from possible distractions,’’ said SWP president Monico Puentevella during the weekly forum backed by the PSC, San Miguel Corporation, Smart and Milo.

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Ceniza is likewise ranked fifth in his category and could snatch a medal in his first Olympics while Ando is aiming for a podium finish in her second consecutive appearance in the Games after seeing action in the women’s 64 kg in Tokyo. INQ

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