VANESSA Sarno lived up to her reputation as the heiress to Tokyo Olympic gold winner Hidilyn Diaz’s throne as the queen of Philippine weightlifting as the former hauled three silver medals in yesterday’s Asian Championships in Jinju, South Korea.
The 19-year-old Ms. Sarno totaled 239 kilograms off her 107 kg in snatch and 132 in clean and jerk to claim all three silver and precious qualifying points to next year’s Paris Olympics.
The cheerful Tagbilaran, Bohol lass also underscored her readiness to claim a spot to the quadrennial event where she hopes to achieve what the iconic Ms. Diaz had accomplished — delivered the country’s historic Olympic gold in the 2021 Tokyo Games.
While Ms. Sarno was buried under the avalanche of China’s Liao Guifang’s world record-breaking performance of 268kg on 120 kg from snatch and 148 from clean and jerk, it won’t slow down, much more stop, the Filipina’s Olympic voyage.
Chinese Taipei’s Chen Wen-huei, a Tokyo Olympic bronze winner in the lighter 64kg category, took the bronze with a 232 kg.
“We’re more focused on the Paris Olympics now,” said Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas president Monico Puentevella yesterday told The STAR.
Barely getting a rest, Ms. Sarno, along with Tokyo Olympian Elreen Ando, will buckle down to work again and fly to Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Friday to shoot for nothing less than a Southeast Asian Games mint.
“We’ll win the gold in Cambodia,” said Mr. Puentevella. — Joey Villar