THE PHILIPPINES has set a target of qualifying three or four weightlifters to next year’s Paris Olympics, the sport’s federation said.
Apart from Tokyo Games gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo, the Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas (SWP) is hoping that Elreen Ando, Vanessa Sarno and Kristel Macrohon also earn berths to the games.
Ms. Diaz-Naranjo has a good head start after winning three gold medals in last month’s World Championships in Bogota, Colombia, the first of 10 Olympic qualifying meets sanctioned by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).
Ms. Ando, a Tokyo Olympian, Ms. Sarno, an Asian and Southeast Asian champion, and Ms. Macrohon, a SEA Games gold winner, did not medal but earned Olympic qualifying points by competing in the Colombian capital.
“We’re looking at three to four lifters to qualify to Paris. Hidilyn, Ando, Sarno and Macrohon are the lifters to watch,” SWP president Monico Puentevella said.
To make the Paris cut, an aspirant must see action in at least five more IWF-sanctioned tilts and hope they amass enough points in their respective weight classes.
Mr. Puentevella is pleading to the newly appointed Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) officials headed by chairman Richard Bachmann to help support a four-Olympian bid.
The former PSC commissioner from Bacolod was positive of further success after Ms. Diaz-Naranjo’s historic feat in Tokyo.
“Of the 10 or more qualifying events for Paris, we need four more and we hope the new PSC officials will continue this kind of support,” said Mr. Puentevella. “And we promise you, we will deliver again.” — Joey Villar