Elreen Ando seen as future weightlifting champion

Nelson Beltran - Philstar.com
Elreen Ando seen as future weightlifting champion
The Philippines' Elreen Ann Ando competes in the women's 64kg weightlifting competition during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo International Forum in Tokyo on July 27, 2021.
Vincenzo Pinto / AFP

TOKYO – Wait for the weight Elreen Ann Ando can deliver down the road.

Ando was good for just a seventh-place finish with a total lift of 222kg, but weightlifting officials got excited in what they saw in the young Olympic debutant.

TRACKER: Elreen Ando at the Tokyo Olympics

“That girl is good. Take care of her,” said Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas president Monico Puentevella of what he’s told by International Weightlifting Federation secretary general Hasan Jalood Mohammed in the sideline of the competition Tuesday night.

“That’s the same thing Hasan Mohammed told me when he first saw Hidilyn (Diaz),” Puentevella added.

Himself seeing Ando as a future champ, Puentevella said they’re ready to invest on the 22-year-old lifter from Cebu City.

“What I’m doing to Ando is what I did to Hidilyn,” said Puentevella, shortly before their departure for Manila from a shining show by Diaz in the Tokyo Games.

Ando was over 10 kilograms short of the winning lift of eventual 64kg gold-medal winner Maude Charron from Canada.

Silver-medal winner Giorgia Bordignon of Italy was also way ahead of Ando with a total lift of 232kg.

But Puentevella is hopeful a good program can improve Ando and make her a medal contender in future Olympics.

Consider the poor showings of Diaz in London and China before hitting pay dirt with a silver in Rio in 2016.

Puentevella sees bigger things for the Philippine weightlifting team in the 2024 Paris Games, expecting to qualify four to five athletes.

He mentioned Diaz, Ando, Kristel Macrohon, Vanessa Sarno and John Fabriga as their top bets.

“At bantayan ninyo si Sarno,” said Puentevella of the junior lady lifter who pulled a shocker with her gold-medal feat in the 2020 Asia championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Sarno was Asian champ at 17 years old.

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