Freeman Cebu Sports

Team Ando confident of medal chances in Tokyo Olympics

Emmanuel B. Villaruel - The Freeman
Team Ando confident of medal chances in Tokyo Olympics
From left, coaches Christopher Bureros and Ramon Solis, Tokyo-bound Cebuana lifter Elreen Anne Ando, SWP chairman Mark Alino, UC athletic director Jessica Jawad-Honoridez, ang coach Gary Hortelano with PSC commissioner Ramon Fernandez in a virtual press conference via Zoom at Hotel Fortuna yesterday.
Manny Villaruel

CEBU, Philippines —  The handlers of Elreen Anne Ando are confident that the promising Cebuana weightlifter having high chances of winning medal at the long delayed Tokyo Olympics scheduled next month.

This was made known by Ando ang her coach Ramon Solis during a virtual press conference spearheaded by Philippine Sports Commissioner Ramon Fernandez yesterday at Hotel Fortuna.

Also present were Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas (SWP) chairman Mark Alino, Cebu City Sports Commission (CCSC) vice chairman Lorenzo “Chao” Sy, Solis’ fellow coaches Gary Hortelano, and Christopher Bureros, and Jessica Jawad-Honoridez, the athletic director of the University of Cebu (UC) that has been very supportive of Ando’s career from the very beginning.

“Laban lang! Gagawin natin lahat para manalo,” said Solis. “May tsansa talaga tayo. Nagawa ni Hidilyn, kaya posible din.”

Solis, a former Olympian, was referring to Zamboangena lifter Hidilyn Diaz, who stunned the entire Filipino nation after she ended the country’s 20-year medal drought in the Olympics by winning silver at the 2016 Rio Games in Brazil.

“Sakto ra ning iyang weight karon..Wa man ni siya’y undang training maski pa’g wala mi kahibalo kung mag-Olympics ba siya o dili,” chimed in Hortelano.

In the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics, Ando will be joining Diaz after the pride of Carreta, Cebu City punched a ticket to the quadrennial games via the continental quota for the women’s -64 kgs. division.

In a list released by the International Weightlifting Federation, the 22-year-old Ando wound up 12th place in her division. She qualified because Europe already had four entries in just the top nine of the rankings, enabling her to bypass the 10th and 11th rankings of Lisa Marie Schweizer and Anni Teija Vuohijoki.

“Nagpapasalamat po ako sa PSC sa tulong. Malaking tulong po ito sa training ko dito sa Cebu,” said Ando, who immediately got the needed support from the PSC for her Tokyo stint.

 “We told her (Ando) if she needs anything, just tell us and we will act on it fast,” assured Fernandez.

Chao Sy has also offered his own newly-built training facility should Ando needs it.

Ando is the third Cebuano athlete to qualify for the Tokyo Games after skateboard sensation Margielyn Didal and Filipino-Japanese judoka Kiyomi Watanabe. It’s a first in Cebu sports history.

In all, 12 Pinoys have already booked spots for the highly anticipated global sports conclave in Japan this July. The others are boxers Carlo Paalam, Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, and Nesthy Petecio, gymnast Carlos Yulo, pole vaulter EJ Obiena, taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa, and rower Cris Nievarez. - Caecent No-ot Magsumbol

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