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Diaz successor bags 2 golds

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Vanessa Sarno is being groomed to replace Hidilyn Diaz. / Photograph courtesy of vanessa sarno/Facebook

Vanessa Sarno proved that she is the future of Philippine weightlifting after delivering an impressive performance in the women’s 71-kg division of the Asian Weightlifting Championship late Wednesday in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

The 17-year-old Bohol native clinched two gold medals in the clean and jerk and total points categories while settling for the silver medal in the snatch event of this prestigious continental tourney that stakes slots in the Tokyo Olympics this July.

She lifted 121 kgs in clean and jerk before posting a total performance of 229 kgs to emerge with two gold medals, a performance that is way better than the fourth-place finish that Hidilyn Diaz posted in the women’s 55-kg class last Monday.

Still, Diaz booked a return flight to the Olympic via the virtue of her superior performance in five previous Olympic Qualifying Tournaments.

Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas president Monico Puentevella said there is no doubt that Sarno would inherit the throne of Diaz.

“She is our future,” said Puentevella, referring to Sarno, who lost the snatch gold medal to Olympian Gulnabat Kadyrova of Turkmenistan.

Puentevella said he is satisfied with the performance of his young wards.

In fact, before Sarno essayed her golden masterpiece, Elreen Ando clinched a pair of silver medals and a bronze in the women’s 64-kg category of this prestigious event where Asia’s brightest lifters are seeing action.

Another prized bet in Kristel Macrohon, the reigning champion in the Southeast Asian Games, is still competing in the women’s 75-kg division at press time.

“Together with Kristel and Elreen, we are grooming Vanessa to win the gold medal in the SEA Games in Vietnam and qualify in the Olympics in Paris in 2024. With a performance like this, I am confident to say that the future is bright,” Puentevella said.

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