Hidilyn carries Philippines hopes in world meet

MANILA, Philippines, September 18 ------ Four men and seven women were named to the initial candidates pool for the World Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on Dec. 7-17 but Samahang Weightlifting Ng Pilipinas president Monico Puentevella said yesterday the list may still be adjusted in the coming months. “I’ll recommend five women and one or two men to join,” said Puentevella. “We’ll assess and try them out again before we make the trip. New and deserving athletes may still come out after Hidilyn’s triumph in Tokyo, maybe next month.” The pool of 11 includes Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz.

In the men’s lineup are Fernando Agad (55 kg), John Ceniza (61), Dave Lloyd Paculdo (67) and John Tabique (96) while Mary Flor Diaz (45), Elien Perez (49), Hidilyn (55), Elreen Ando (59), Margaret Colonia (64), Kristel Macrohon (71) and Vanessa Sarno (76) are in the women’s roster. Six are 2019 SEA Games medalists – Ceniza (silver, 55), Mary Flor (bronze, 45), Hidilyn (gold, 55), Ando (silver, 64), Colonia (silver, 59) and Macrohon (gold, 71). Four claimed medals at the Asian Championships in Tashkent lasts April – Mary Flor (silver, 45), Ando (silver, 64), Macrohon (bronze, 76) and Sarno (gold, 71). Hidilyn and Mary Flor are cousins.

There were a few weight switches in the pool as Ando, a Tokyo Olympian, will drop from 64 to 59, Ceniza will move from 55 to 61, Macrohon will step down from 76 to 71 and Sarno will jump from 71 to 76. Diaz herself has lifted in several weight categories in the Olympics, 58 in 2008 and 2012, 53 in 2016 and 55 this year.

Puentevella said after the World Championships, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) will hold an electoral congress, also in Tashkent, on Dec. 20-21. He recently attended the IWF general meeting in Doha where a new, independently-drafted Constitution was approved to conform with IOC’s guidelines. Puentevella called it a “new lease on life” as weightlifting was on the brink of deletion from the Olympic calendar because of doping, corruption and administrative shenanigans traced to the previous IWF leadership.

Hidilyn arrived in Manila last Sunday from Bacolod where she was honored as an adopted daughter of Negros Occidental. She was given a hero’s welcome. Puentevella said Hidilyn trained every morning with coach Julius Naranjo during the brief visit.

Source: philstar.com