HANOI – The Philippine team will have to make a lot of heavy lifting to finish third in the overall medal tally of the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
That is why the national weightlifters have come here.
The crack weightlifting team has been appointed as the squad leader, no less than Olympic champion Heidelin Diaz. Mission: Collect more gold medals and start building concrete for the road to the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Diaz, the country’s first Olympic gold medalist and one of the big-name athletes attending the biennial meeting here, will see action in the women’s 55-kilogram class at the Hanoi Sports Training and Competition Center on Friday.
“We hope we can contribute to the gold medal list,” said Moniko Puentevela, president of Samhang Weightlifting NP Pilipinas. “Hidelin is in top form. And everyone is fine. They are all ready. ”
The Philippines is currently in fourth place, with sports officials looking at weightlifting and boxing to restart the country’s gold machine.
“I’m waiting for Heidelin to retain his title. He’s an elite athlete and an Olympic champion,” said Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Talentino, president of the Philippine Olympic Committee.
According to Puentevella on Thursday, Indonesia and Malaysia have become major threats to the country, which is eyeing at least three gold medals in the sport.
Rosegi Ramos received a bid rolling with a bronze medal in the women’s 49-kg category on Thursday with a total lifting of 179 kg. He also beat Thailand’s Surodchana Khambao (195kg) and Vietnam’s Din Thi Pham (183kg).
On Saturday, Vanessa Sarno took her turn in the women’s 71kg division. Sarno is also in favor of the gold medal.
“My goal in every competition is to win [gold] Medals, watch the Philippine flag fly and sing ‘Lupang Hinirang’ (national anthem), “Sarno told investigators before the regional meeting. “I will do my best to win my first gold medal in the SEA Games.”
But after nearly a century of waiting for a sport that brought Olympic glory to the Philippines, Filipino weightlifters are using the SEA Games as a starting point for their ultimate goal: to enter the Paris Olympics.
Puentevela said the athletes’ performances here would serve as their auditions for the nearly seven Olympic qualifying competitions scattered around the world.
“There are five qualifiers and two mandatory events for Paris,” said Puntevela. “Now we want to compete in five of them to maximize our chances of qualifying for the Olympics.”
“The plan is to continue the competition as far as Paris [Olympics in] 2024, ”Diaz said before coming here. “If there is another weightlifting event in Cambodia [in 2023]Then I will compete in those SEA games. “
‘100 percent fixed’
“I am 100 percent determined to make the Olympics my name,” said Asian junior and senior champion Sarno. “Like eating heidi (Diaz), I’m ready to give up so I can achieve my goal of reaching the Olympics soon.”
Like Diaz, Sarno is not allowing competition here.
Diaz, in fact, arrived a week before the original scheduled so he could begin his final preparations for the event. Her winning lifts at the 2019 Games were 91kg in the snatch and 120kg in the clean and jerk. He holds the Olympic record in clean and jerk at 127 kg.
But the 31-year-old star warned that opponents would be highly motivated to bring him down.
Sarno is also aware of the competition, saying “weightlifters from Thailand and Vietnam” will be his main competitors.
Another Olympian, Nestor Colonia (67kg) will also be seen in action on Friday with Royal Garcia (61kg) and Margaret Colonia (59kg).
Two more lifters tagged as potential heirs to Diaz’s throne will see action over the weekend: Elrin Ando (64kg) on Saturday and Crystal Macron (+71kg) on Sunday.
Other members of the team are Mary Flore Diaz (45kg) for women and Fernando Agad (55kg) for men, Lemon Denmark Tarro (73kg), John Kevin Padulo (89kg) and John Dexter Tabic (+89kg).
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