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Freeman Cebu Sports

Cebuana lifter Ando shows promise in Olympics debut

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  She may have failed to win a medal but Cebuano lifter Elreen Ann Ando showed a lot of promise in her Olympics debut.

The 22-year-old Ando placed seventh out of 13 contenders in the women’s 64kg category of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics weigthlifting competition at the Tokyo International Forum on Tuesday night.

Ando lifted 100kg in the snatch and 122 in the clean and jerk for a 222kg total.

But it was not enough compared to the 236kg total of champion Moude Charron of Canada, the 232 of Italy’s Giorgia Bordignon and the 230 of Chinese Taipei’s Chen Wen-Huei.

Still, it was an impressive performance for a first-time Olympian, who was actually groomed for the 2024 Paris Olympics prior to her surprise qualification for the Tokyo Games.

In the face of her temporary setback, the pride of Barangay Carreta, Cebu City could find solace in the thought that her countryman Hidily Diaz took three Olympics (Beijing, London and Rio) before clinching a medal.

In her fourth Olympics, Diaz musled her way to win the first ever Olympic gold medal of the Philippines in Tokyo just three days ago.

For the country’s weightlifting chief Monico Puentevella, Ando won’t take three to medal in the games.

“Hinog na si Elreen sa 2024 Paris Olympics,” said Puentevella. “She is our project for 2024, together with Vanessa Sarno. Magaling lang talaga kaya nasama na kaagad sa Tokyo.”

Cebu City Sports Commission (CCSC) chairman Ed Hayco echoed Puentevella’s sentiments.

“Hidilyn had a 13-year journey to an Olympic gold,” noted Hayco. “Our Ando did well to land 7th on her first Olympic try. Let’s continue to support her quest in the 2024 Paris Olympics.”

Ando, who is trained by former Olympian Ramon Solis, is a proud product of the University of Cebu (UC), which takes pride for its storied athletic program that produced basketball greats Dondon Hontiveros and June Mar Fajardo.

And Ando’s remarkable showing in her maiden Olympic stint did not go unnoticed.

“Elreen Ando placed 7th in her very first Olympics. She didn’t win. But for a first-time Olympian, who broke her personal record, to place 7th makes her a Champion in my eyes . Congratulations, Elreen!” wrote Gotianuy on her Facebook page. — EBV

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