WEIGHTLIFTING prodigy Vanessa Sarno is being heralded as a future Olympic and world champion after her record-smashing performance in the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.

But for it to become a reality, the 18-year-old Tagbilaran, Bohol lifter would need all the support she could get.

Enter the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

“She is the new Philippine darling of weightlifting. We will support her by giving an excellent coach and exposure for the 2024 Paris Olympics,” said PSC chair William Ramirez.

Mr. Ramirez said the sports-funding agency would be providing a special training team including a foreign coach to Ms. Sarno, who took the women’s 71-kilogram gold while eclipsing the SEA Games mark with a total lift of 239kg.

It was the same formula that produced world-class athletes, among them fellow lifter and Tokyo Olympics gold winner Hidilyn F. Diaz, two-time world gymnastics champion Carlos Yulo, the battery of top-notch Filipino pugs and World No. 5 and Asian pole-vault record-holder Ernest John Obiena.

Ms. Sarno’s effort in Hanoi was just a glimpse of Ms. Sarno’s oozing potential as she only trained locally and under Filipino coaches.

But still, the reigning Asian champion and world youth online titlist produced exceptional results in Hanoi that proved her worthiness to succeed her idol — Ms. Diaz. — Joey Villar