Hidilynâs heir on the rise
This handout file photo shows Vanessa Sarno on the medal podium during the Asian Youth and Junior weightlifting championships held in Pyongyang, North Korea in 2020.

Hidilyn’s heir on the rise

Joey Villar (Philstar.com) - April 22, 2021 - 3:43pm

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine weightlifting has a rising star in teenage sensation Vanessa Sarno.

Sarno stole the thunder from the favorites as she delivered a pair of gold medals and a silver in the women’s 71-kilogram division of the Asian Championship in Tashkent, Uzbekistan Wednesday night.

The 17-year-old Tagbilaran, Bohol native was edged by 2016 Rio Games veteran Gulnabat Kadyrova of Turkmenistan for the snatch gold, 101kg-100kg, but blew away the competition in the clean and jerk with 128kg for a total of 229kg, which were good for two mints.

It was a performance that underscored Sarno’s status as the next lifter to succeed to the throne of Hidilyn Diaz, whose fourth-place effort in the 55kg class was enough to earn the latter’s fourth Olympic stint in Tokyo in July.

It was made more impressive by the fact that it was Sarno’s debut appearance in the senior’s class.

"She's new, first Asian for her. She’s a world junior and Asian junior champion, and now Asian champion. She’s the successor to Hidilyn," said Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas (SWP) president Monico Puentevella.

And Sarno was flawless, completing all her six lifts, 93, 97 and 101kg in the snatch and 120, 124 and 128kg in the clean and jerk.

It came a day after 22-year-old Elreen Ando pocketed a couple of silver and a bronze the 64kg section.

Another lifter to watch out for is 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Kristel Macrohon, who was competing in the 67kg category at press time.

And thanks to Sarno, Ando and Macrohon, Philippine weightlifting will be in good hands even after the 30-year-old Diaz’s reign ends.

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