3 Cebuano weightlifters silently gear up for Olympic pre-qualifiers
CEBU CITY, Philippines—- Cebu’s vaunted weightlifters have silently prepare for their last remaining Olympic pre-qualifiers, the Asian Weightlifting Championships, on April 16 to 25, 2021, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The Philippine team comprises the Cebuano Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) silver medalists John Februar Ceniza and Elreen Ando, along with fellow Cebuano John Dexter Tabique. They will fly to Tashkent, Uzbekistan to compete for the international tournament. Their head coach, former Olympian and University of Cebu (UC) Webmasters weightlifting coach Ramon Solis will accompany them to Uzbekistan.
The major weightlifting tournament features more than 30 countries vying for the last remaining pre-Olympic qualifiers. The Asian Weightlifting Championships was postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Solis told CDN Digital that they had been silently training at their gym behind Cebu Coliseum in downtown Cebu City despite the pandemic.
“Sige lang mi ug training since July last year. Actually sige mi ug duwa ug mga virtual tournaments. Seven na ka virtual tournaments among naapilan para ranking, pero kaning Asian Championships mao ni pinakadako kay mao ni last para rankings ug prior pud sa official Olympic qualifying,” Solis told CDN Digital.
(We have been training conscientiously since last July. Actually, we have joined many virtual tournaments. We competed in seven virtual tournaments for our ranking, but this Asian Championships, this is the biggest because this is the last tournament for the rankings and this is prior to the official Olympic qualifying.)
Solis added that they were doing very fine with their training.
He saw a lot of progress from his weightlifters, but he is still worried about the COVID-19 pandemic considering that the neighboring establishments of their gym had people testing positive of the virus since last year.
“Akong pinakadako nga concern kani jud ang COVID-19. Kuyawan mi ma infected ug maapektuhan among preparation. Mao mo request ko sa PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) ug sa among association nga maayo unta tagaan mi ug bubble setup nga training camp. Para adto nami didto mag train nga kami ra, maka focus mi ug maayo unya walay laing tawo maka sulod ug gawas,” said Solis.
(My biggest concern today is the COVID-19. I am worried that we may be infected and our preparations will be affected. That is why I have requested to the PSC [Philippine Sports Commission] and to our associaiton that it would be better to create a bubble setup for our training camp. So that we will be there to train and we can focus on training and there are no other persons who can enter or exit the area where we train.)
He said that the PSC did not fail to support them since the pandemic happened last year.
He revealed that their training center would receive a brand-new set of barbells that would serve very useful for all his athletes.
Solis also said that they would need to double their training, considering that the Asian Weightlifting Championships was drawing near.
“Double time jud mi karon kay para nako daghan pa ug kulang among training tungod kay naapektuhan sad mi sa pandemic. Maayo unta padayon lang among progress padulong sa Asian Championships,” added Solis.
(We are working double time because we still have a lot of things to improve on our traning because we also have been affected by the pandemic. We hope that our progress would continue to the Asian Championships.)
The 22-year old Ando, also a UC Webmasters weightlifter, will vie in the women’s 64 Kg category. Her teammate, 19-year old Tabique, will compete in the 96 Kg category. On the other hand, Ceniza (22) will be competing in the men’s 61 Kg category.
All three Cebuano weightlifters are products of the Cebu City Sports Commission’s (CCSC) grassroots training program that Solis and his trainers voluntarily handled. All of them had vied in various regional and national meets before they reached the pinnacle of their weightlifting careers.
“Ako na jud na panglantaw kani sila in five to six years madevelop jud ni ilang skills ug makaduwa jud ni sila sa SEA Games. Naabot na jud ang panahon nila karon,” said Solis.
(What I have foreseen for them then that in five to six years they could develop their skills and they could compete in the SEA Games. Now, their time to shine has come.)
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