VIGO, Spain — While on a layover at London’s Heathrow Airport on Thursday en route to Albania, weightlifting chief Monico Puentevella insists he is taking a more low-key role after the Paris Olympics.
Puentevella, set to be enshrined in the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Hall of Fame in the Albanian capital of Tirana on Saturday, told Daily Tribune that the recent overpowering performances of Filipino lifters have made him a happy man.
“I can’t ask for anything more, actually,” Puentevella said.
“The only thing that’s keeping me very much involved in weightlifting is my desire to see our weightlifters strike gold in 2024.”
Puentevella swears that he will start to assume a more relaxed part given what he has accomplished through the years.
Hidilyn Diaz, a big flop in the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics, finally struck big time when she placed second in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
All the hard work and sacrifices paid off in the rescheduled 2020 Tokyo Games when Diaz finally hit pay dirt by winning the country’s first-ever Olympic gold.
Puentevella is so looking forward to another golden showing in Paris with Diaz leading the quest and two emerging stars likewise aching to prove their worth.
Vanessa Sarno and Rose Jean Ramos are being groomed as Diaz’s replacements in the years to come.
Sarno is an Asian champion while Ramos recently crowned herself as world juniors titlist.
“I want to see them bring honors to the Philippines by winning medals,” the former Bacolod City congressman said.
IWF interim president and secretary-general Mohammed Jaloud was the one who informed Puentevella of the award in a letter sent to the Filipino sports official last week.
His enshrinement is undoubtedly a big lift for Philippine weightlifting and sports in general.