HANOI, Vietnam — Vanessa Sarno gave the Philippines’ fading gold medal hopes a big lift by overwhelming the competition in the weightlifting women’s 71 kg on Saturday in the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
Sarno’s top finish came just before sunset with the Philippines desperately needing as many of the same color in its bid to crack the top three in the overall medal standings with just one competition day left before this year’s edition closes shop.
Just before Sarno came up with the huge performance, billiards stepped up by formally delivering the two guaranteed gold while tennis also did the same in the men’s doubles.
With Sarno’s head-turning performance, the Philippines upped its medal tally to 47-65-98 as of 6:30 p.m. (Manila time).
Singapore also has the same number of gold medals but it has only 44 silver and 65 bronze medals.
Still on top and staying there until the curtains fall on Monday is host Vietnam with a tally of 173-102-100 while Thailand has a 71-75-66 count.
Indonesia is third with 57-65-68.
Sarno didn’t only win the gold.
New games record
The 18-year-old likewise set new SEA Games marks in the snatch, clean and jerk and total lift.
She did 104 kg in the snatch and then erased her own record one after the other in clean and jerk by doing 124, 130, and finally 135 kg for a total of 239 kg.
Siriyakorn Khaipandung of Thailand was a distant second with a 223 total (103 and 120) while Anggi Restu of Indonesia was way down with a 212 (92 and 120).
“Remember the name, Vanessa Sarno,” howled Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas president Monico Puentevalla.
Boxing is punching for a possible four gold medals when action explodes late afternoon at the Bac Ninh Stadium, some 40 kilometers from here.
Leading the gold hopefuls is pro fighter and Tokyo bronze medalist Eumir Marcial in the 75 kg middleweight class. Three others — fly Rogen Ladon, feather Ian Clark Bautista and fly Irish Magno — are also vying for top honors.
Gilas Pilipinas is expected to run roughshod over Indonesia in the final game at 3 p.m. after winning over Thailand (76-73), Cambodia (00-32), Singapore (88-37), Vietnam (88-60) and Malaysia (87-44).
A possible gold is also being awaited in esports.
Six silver medals were added to the Philippine collection on the penultimate day of competitions while there were five bronze included as well.
The silver producers were billiards (2), tennis (1), chess (1), weightlifting (1) and judo (1). The bronze came from judo (2), Muay (2) and chess (1).