Three Cebuanos win gold, earn Southeast Asian Games slots

By: Glendale Rosal December 14,2018 - 10:32 PM

Weightlifters from UC and Team Cebu City gather during the final day of the 6-in-1 National Weightlifting Championships. / Glendale Rosal

Three Cebuano weightlifters earned slots to compete in the Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) the Philippines is hosting next year after winning gold medals in the 6-in-1 National Weightlifting Championships, which came to an end on Friday at the SM Seaside City Cebu.

The three are University of Cebu’s Elreen Ann Ando and Dexter Tabique, and Team Cebu City’s John Februar Ceniza. They were selected by the Samahang Weightlifters ng Pilipinas (SWP) officials to fill in the slots for team Philippines.

For the 18-year-old Tabique, the chance to represent the country in the SEAG is a dream come true but also a huge responsibility.

“It [will be] my first time in the SEA Games. In fact, this tournament that I joined is the biggest achievement in my career so far and competing in SEA Games next year is a very big responsibility,” said Tabique, a senior high school student. “I am nervous right now but that does not mean that I am not confident that I can deliver a medal for our country. I am very happy to represent and carry our country’s flag.”

Tabique ruled the 89-kilogram division’s open, junior, and secondary categories to match Ando’s triple gold medal that she won earlier this week.

“I will train hard. I have to trust myself that I can perform my best when the tournament comes. I will rely on everything to God, I must have faith in God,” added Tabique, who started lifting at 13.

According to his head coach Ramon Solis, who is one of the pioneering weightlifters of the country, Tabique will start training as early as January at one of the Philippine Team’s training center at the back of the Cebu Coliseum.

Meanwhile, tournament director Leonard Llena said the competition was a success in terms of a number of participants and talent scouting.

“We had a lot of participants from well-known teams. There are a lot of new Philippine records that were set. We will be requesting PSC for additional national team members because we discovered a lot of great talents here and it would be a waste of their talent if we do not develop it,” said Llena.

He added that the tournament was an important one since it served as a qualifier for the Philippine team for the SEAG.

“This is the final selection of athletes that will be competing for the SEA Games and this is also the selection for the new national team for weightlifting for the 2019 batch. Hopefully, we can have more events like this. Our president plans to make this an annual event held every December,” he said.

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TAGS: National Weightlifting Championships, SEAG, Southeast Asian Games

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