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SEA Games 2023: Philippines’ Elreen Ando wins weightlifting gold with record lift

PHNOM PENH – The Philippines’ Elreen Ando shattered meet records in her new weight class of 59kg on Sunday, as she secured her country’s first gold medal in women’s weightlifting at the Cambodia SEA Games.

In the snatch, the 24-year-old slowly raised the massive 98kg metal plates overhead and kept a firm grip before letting go, eclipsing the 96kg standard set by Vietnam’s Hoang Thi Duyen at the Hanoi Games a year ago.

Ando repeated her record-breaking act in the clean and jerk with a 118kg lift, again surpassing Hoang’s standard in the event at 115.

Thailand’s Suratwadee Yodsarn pocketed the silver with a 206kg total built on her 91kg in the snatch and 115kg in the clean and jerk, while last year’s champion Hoang finished third.

“It was some sort of redemption for me. The hard work paid off,’’ said Ando, who got a silver medal in the women’s 64kg in Hanoi.

“This is for my father,’’ added the Tokyo Olympian, who dedicated the win to his dad who died of liver cancer.

Ando didn’t figure prominently in the Asian Championships in South Korea a week ago, when she ended 15th in the 2024 Paris Olympics qualifier. Olympic gold medallist Hidilyn Diaz finished fourth in the same weight class.

“I got depressed when I wasn’t able to finish in the Asian championships. I picked up the pieces and motivated myself again to redeem myself,’’ said Ando.

Her victory broke a streak of four silver medals for the Philippine weightlifting squad at Cambodia’s National Olympic Stadium.

Rosalinda Faustino (women’s 55kg), Angeline Colonia (women’s 45kg), Lovely Inan (women’s 49kg) and John Febuar Ceniza (men’s 61kg) placed second in their respective weight categories.

With Diaz skipping the SEA Games, the nation will likewise rely on Kristel Macrohon (+71kg) and defending champion Vanessa Sarno (71kg) to bring home more gold medals.

Vietnamese weightlifter Tran Minh Tri also broke a Games record en route to winning the men’s 67kg gold on Sunday.

Tri rewrote the clean and jerk record in his weight category with a 176kg lift, eclipsing the previous mark by 3kg.

Despite ranking only fourth in the snatch with his 130kg effort, he secured the gold medal by lifting 306kg in total, 1kg more than Thailand’s Witsanu Chantri. Indonesia’s Mohamad Yasin (304kg) was third.

“I was happy when I won the SEA Games gold medal for the first time in my life. I was so surprised because after finishing the snatch division, I thought I failed,” he said.

This was the second gold medal for Vietnam’s weightlifters at the Games. Lai Gia Thanh had won the first in the men’s 55kg category on Saturday. THE PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER, VIETNAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK