MANILA, Philippines – The Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas is looking for a new Chinese coach to take over a Philippine national team brimming with potential heading to the 2024 Olympics.
Federation chief Monico Puentevella revealed the development at the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum last Tuesday, July 26, and added that the proposal is only awaiting approval by the next Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman.
Whatever the next move of the next chairman will be, it will directly benefit a promising next generation of weightlifters, and Puentevella hopes that their proposal will be granted.
“That’s my problem, as we don’t know yet who will be the next PSC chairman. Even though the proposal is approved, the chairman will look at the budget, and see if there is enough money for it,” he said in Filipino.
As Olympic champion Hidilyn Diaz prepares for her 2024 Paris Olympics gold medal defense – likely her last major career event – the Philippines has an army of young stars eager to take the torch.
This talent pool was put on full display at the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Asian Youth and Junior Weightlifting Championships in Uzbekistan, where the national team hauled in a staggering 15 gold medals along with a handful of silvers and bronzes.
Four top prospects each earned at least three gold medals in the event, namely 18-year-old Vanessa Sarno in the women’s junior 71-kilogram category, 18-year-old Rosegie Ramos in the women’s junior 49-kg class, and 15-year-old Rosalinda Faustino in women’s youth 49-kg.
Meanwhile, 17-year-old Jean Ramos – Rosegie’s sister – snagged four golds overall (three in women’s youth 40-kg, one in women’s junior 40-kg) as 15-year-old Angeline Colonia came away with two golds in women’s youth 40-kg.
Puentevella will also try to set up a meeting with the Chinese ambassador as the weightlifting body continues its search.
It is worth noting that seven of the eight Chinese Olympians in the 2020 Tokyo Games, only one failed to bring home the gold medal: Liao Qiuyun, who was at the losing end of Diaz’s golden lift.
Diaz herself had a Chinese mentor, Gao Kaiwen, by her side in her journey to Olympic gold, but Puentevella said that the 31-year-old will now only work with her new husband Julius Naranjo – himself a longtime coach.
Gao amicably split with Diaz following the Tokyo Olympics as he wished to return home to his family.
Other promising weightlifters eyeing a 2024 Paris berth are Olympian Elreen Ando, SEA Games gold medalist Kristel Macrohon, and Mary Flor Diaz. – Rappler.com