COVID-19 derails Cebuano weightlifters Olympic bid

By: Mars G. Alison - Correspondent/CDN Digital | March 07,2020 - 03:41 PM
Cebuano weightlifters Elreen Ann Ando (fourth from left) and John Fabuar Ceniza (second from left) together with their coaches make a courtesy call to Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella (third from left) in December 2019.| Mars G. Alison

Cebuano weightlifters Elreen Ann Ando (fourth from left) and John Fabuar Ceniza (second from left) together with their coaches make a courtesy call to Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella (third from left) in December 2019.| Mars G. Alison

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) has derailed the Olympic hopes of Cebuano weightlifters Elreen Ann Ando and John Fabuar Ceniza.

This after organizers have cancelled the 2020 Asian Championships, which was supposed to be held in Uzbekistan from April 16 to 25, 2020, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to the communication, the Uzbekistan Weightlifting Federation cannot guarantee hosting the competition in April due to the unstable situation brought about by the COVID-19.

The 2020 Asian Championships would have been the sixth and final Olympic qualifier for weightlifting.

According to national coach, Ramon Solis, both Ando of the University of Cebu (UC) and Ceniza needed to compete in six Olympic qualifiers and earn points to elevate their world rankings and hopefully get a slot to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The two Cebuano weightlifters, however, are also in the same situation with another Cebuano athlete — Marathon runner Mary Joy Tabal.

Tabal is also finding it difficult to get the points needed to qualify for the Olympics with the qualifying marathon tournaments have been canceled due to the COVID-19.

Read more: Tabal is left with only one race to qualify for Tokyo Olympics

In Tabal’s case, qualifying marathons for the Olympics like the Seoul Marathon and the HongKong Chartered were canceled.

Weightlifters’ goal

For the Cebuano weightlifters, they will need to be among the top 20 ranked weightlifters in the world to get a chance to compete in the Olympics.

In the 2019 annual world ranking, Ando ranked number 17 in the  64-kilogram category while Ceniza ranked number 40 in the 61-kg.

Ceniza though had boosted his Olympic chances after bagging bronze in the Roma 2020 World Cup last January in Rome which was the fifth qualifying event.

Read more: Cebuano weightlifter John Fabuar Ceniza bags bronze in Roma 2020 World Cup

Solis is hoping that both Cebuano weightlifters have tallied enough points from the five qualifiers that they have competed in starting last year.

The final qualifier would have been a great help to both, added Solis. 

Both Ando and Ceniza had bagged a silver medal in the 30th Southeast Asian Games hosted by the Philippines last year./dbs

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TAGS: Ando, Asian Championships, Ceniza, COVID-19, Solis, Uzbekistan, weightlifters

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