Sarno wondrous in Asian senior play debut
Vanessa Sarno
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Sarno wondrous in Asian senior play debut

Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - April 23, 2021 - 12:00am

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

Sarno stole the thunder from the favorites with lifts to remember, bagging 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 barely missed a three-gold haul as she was edged by 2016 Rio Games veteran Gulnabat Kadyrova of Turkmenistan in snatch. Kadyrova won the gold at 101kg as against Sarno’s 100.

But Sarno blew away the competition in the clean and jerk with a 128kg for a total of 229kg, which were good for two mints.

It was a performance that underscored Sarno’s status as a promising bet who could be the successor to current Philippine weightlifting queen Hidilyn Diaz.

Diaz, a silver-medal winner in the Rio Games, was good for only fourth place in the 55kg but her effort was enough to formalize a fourth Olympic stint in Tokyo in July.

Sarno delivered a golden performance a day after teammate Elreen Ando pocketed two silvers and a bronze in the women’s 64kg.

“She’s new, actually 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 of Sarno’s triumphant debut in seniors play.

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.

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.

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