HANGZHOU—Elreen Ann Ando saved the Philippine campaign on Monday with a bronze medal in women’s 64 kgs of weightlifting in the 19th Asian Games.
What Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo failed to accomplish earlier on Monday, Ando pulled off with enormous effort at the XSC Gymnasium.
The pride of Cebu lifted 96 kgs in snatch and 126 kgs in clean and jerk for a 222-kg to finish third behind powerhouse lifters Rin Unsim (111-140-251) of North Korea and China’s Pei Xinyi (104-130-224).
“I felt I needed to bounce back after my disappointing performance in the Asian championships,” said Ando, 24, referring to the continental tournament in Jinju, South Korea, early this year.
Now, Ando is looking ahead at an Olympic qualification for Paris 2024 in two major competitions—the World Cup Qatar and Thailand are hosting in December and February next year.
For the meantime though, as advised by Samahang Weightlifting Federation president Monico Puentevella, Ando will be enjoying a bountiful Christmas season ahead.
“I want to build a house for my family,” said Ando, a breadwinner for her family in Cebu. Asked where she’ll have that dream house, she said “secret.”
A bronze medal in the Asian Games is worth P500,000 under the Athletes and Coaches Incentive Act through the Philippine Sports Commission. Gold is worth P2 million and silver P1 million—with an additional P1 million for gold medalist from the Philippine Olympic Committee headed by Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino.
Olympic champion Diaz, competing at 59 kgs and not at 55 kgs where she won gold in Tokyo two years ago, missed the podium but didn’t fail to make a statement that she’ll soon be in her comfort zone in a heavier weight class.
“Wait for me in Paris,” said Diaz-Naranjo after finishing fourth in her division on lifts of 97 kgs in snatch, 126 in clean and jerk for a 223-kg total.
Kim Ilgyong, 20, gave North Korea its first weightlifting gold medal for the day with a world, Asian and Asian Games record in snatch (59 kgs) and 135 kgs in clean and jerk for a new world record in total lift with 246 kgs.
She shoved former record holders Luo Shifang of China (107, 133 for 240) and Chinese-Taipei’s Kuo Hsing Chun (101, 126 and 227) to the silver and bronze medals, respectively.
Image credits: Nonie Reyes