Paris Olympics

Dream fulfilled: Rising star Vanessa Sarno earns Olympic weightlifting berth

Delfin Dioquino

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Dream fulfilled: Rising star Vanessa Sarno earns Olympic weightlifting berth

PUMPED. Vanessa Sarno in action for the Philippines in the 2023 SEA Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.


Rising star Vanessa Sarno books her ticket to the Paris Games, paving the way for the Philippines to have its biggest weightlifting contingent in the Olympics in nearly four decades

MANILA, Philippines – Back when Vanessa Sarno defended her title in the Southeast Asian Games in May last year, she talked about her desire to win an Olympic medal.

The rising star will get a chance to do exactly that in Paris as Sarno secured her Olympic berth in the women’s 71kg class following the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Cup in Phuket, Thailand on Sunday, April 7.

Sarno, 20, shattered her own national record in snatch with 110kg and cleared 135kg in the clean and jerk for a total lift of 245kg to finish fifth in the tournament that served as the last qualifying event for Olympic weightlifting.

Her participation in the World Cup – one of the two mandatory events for Paris hopefuls – allowed Sarno to formalize her Games entry as she remained in the top 10 of the IWF Olympic Qualification Ranking (OQR).

Sarno, the pride of Tagbilaran City, Bohol, retained the No. 5 spot in the OQR behind her 249kg total lift – also a national record – she accomplished in the IWF Grand Prix in Doha, Qatar, in December.

Philippine team veteran Kristel Macrohon also competed in the same weight category, recording a total lift of 233kg (103kg in snatch and 130kg in clean and jerk).

USA’s Olivia Lynn Reeves topped the World Cup with 268kg followed by China’s Liao Guifang (264kg) and North Korea’s Song Kuk Hyang (261kg).

Liao kept her No. 1 spot in the OQR after setting a world record of 273kg in the World Weightlifting Championships in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in September.

The IWF will release the final OQR in May.

With Sarno also bound for Paris, the Philippines will have its biggest weightlifting contingent in the Olympics in nearly four decades as she joins John Ceniza (men’s 61kg) and Elreen Ando (women’s 59kg) in Paris.

The last time three weightlifters represented the Philippines in a single Olympics was in the 1988 Seoul Games.

Rosegie Ramos, who sits at No. 11 in the OQR for the women’s 49kg division, hopes to make it four Filipino weightlifters in Paris as she waits for the final qualification ranking.

Other Filipino athletes who have earned their Olympic spots include pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnasts Carlos Yulo and Aleah Finnegan, and boxers Eumir Marcial, Nesthy Petecio, and Aira Villegas. –

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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.