SEA Games

Sarno takes spotlight as PH vets clinch golds to fuel SEA Games bid

Delfin Dioquino
Sarno takes spotlight as PH vets clinch golds to fuel SEA Games bid

RECORD BREAKER. Vanessa Sarno cements her status as the Philippines' new star weightlifter.


Youngster Vanessa Sarno and SEA Games veterans Rubilen Amit, Carlo Biado, Treat Huey, and Ruben Gonzales raise the Philippines' gold tally to 47

MANILA, Philippines – A new force in weightlifting has arrived as Vanessa Sarno powered the Philippines’ additional four-gold haul in the Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam on Saturday, May 21.

Pegged as the successor to Olympic champion Hidilyn Diaz, Sarno backed up the hype and claimed her first SEA Games gold in record-breaking fashion by topping the women’s 71kg.

Only 18 years old, Sarno shattered the SEA Games records in snatch with 104kg, clean and jerk with 135kg, and total lift with 239kg as the country bagged its second weightlifting gold after Diaz topped the women’s 55kg.

It looked like just another day in the office for the young Sarno, whose score eclipsed the total lift of 216kg accomplished by teammate and 2019 SEA Games champion Kristel Macrohon by a whopping 23kg.

Olympian Elreen Ando also snagged a weightlifting silver after a runner-up finish in the women’s 64kg.

Over in billiards, Carlo Biado and Rubilen Amit officially added two more golds to the Philippines’ tally by reigning in the men’s and women’s 10-ball singles against their fellow Filipinos.

Biado got back at Johann Chua, 9-3, in their second encounter after disputing the men’s nine-ball title, while Amit dethroned Chezka Centeno, 7-5, to clinch her second gold following her triumph in the women’s nine-ball.

Centeno and Chua both nailed silver as the national billiards team pocketed a total of 10 medals.

Tennis also saw a 1-2 finish for the Philippines, with Treat Huey and Ruben Gonzales smashing their way to the men’s doubles gold after a 6-1, 6-4 win over Francis Alcantara and Jeson Patrombon.

Alcantara and Patrombon settled for silver as they failed to replicate their 2019 SEA Games finals win over the same Huey-Gonzales tandem.

Chesser Janelle Frayna nailed her third medal in these games after grabbing silver in the women’s team blitz together with Shania Mae Mendoza.

Judo delivered more medals thanks to Daryl John Mercado (men’s -55kg) winning silver and Leah Jhane Lopez (women’s -48kg) and Ma. Jeanalane Lopez (women’s -45kg) copping a pair of bronzes.

A bronze shone like gold in women’s football as the Philippines snapped a decades-long medal drought after staging a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Myanmar.

Sarina Bolden and Quinley Quezada drilled in clutch goals to guide the Philippines to its first podium finish in women’s football since 1985.

The women’s volleyball team, however, fell short of ending its own medal dry spell after absorbing a 25-21, 22-25, 25-19, 25-21 loss to Indonesia in the battle for bronze.

With the defeat, the Philippines’ quest for a women’s volleyball medal since 2005 continues.

The Philippines’ other bronzes came from April Joy la Madrid (women’s combat 60kg) and Rudzma Abubakar (women’s combat 48kg) in muay thai and Emmanuel Garcia and Daniel Quizon (men’s team blitz) in chess.

With 47 golds, the Philippines goes into the final day of competitions tied at fourth place with Singapore as it tries to catch up with Indonesia, which owns 57 golds, for a top-three finish.

Host Vietnam is the runaway overall champion with 175 golds, while Thailand sits at second with 75 golds. –

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.