Surprised Cebuana weightlifter Ando qualifies for Tokyo Olympics
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebuana weightlifter Elreen Anne Ando was completely caught off guard when she learned that she will be vying in the Tokyo Olympics in July.
The 22-year-old Ando of Barangay Carreta, Cebu City was officially included in the qualified weightlifters in the women’s 64-kilogram division for the Olympics based on the latest continental rankings of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) that was published today, June 12, 2021.
“I wasn’t expecting that. It was an unexpected feeling and by far, the most overwhelming news that I received. I was shocked and very excited at the same time,” Ando told CDN Digital.
The Cebuana weightlifter will join fellow Cebuana Margielyn Didal of skateboarding in the quadrennial sports meet in Tokyo, Japan. Didal, qualified via the world rankings in the women’s elite of the World Skateboarding Championships in Rome, Italy earlier this month.
Both will be competing in the Olympics for the first time. They will join nine other Filipino Olympic qualifiers to make up the entire Philippine national team.
Ando, the prized weightlifter of the University of Cebu (UC) will compete alongside 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz in the women’s weightlifting competition.
Ando is ranked 12th in the top 28 female weightlifters in the women’s 64-kilogram division. She is the second highest-ranked Asian who qualified for the Olympics behind Taiwan’s Wen Huei Chen.
“I am very inspired by everyone who supports me especially my family, my coaches and my teammates. They motivate me to be better each and every day,” Ando added.
Romania’s Loredana Toma is the top qualifer while Colombia’s Mercedes Perez and Canada’s Maude Charron completed the top three qualifier in the division.
Ando bagged two silver medals and one bronze in the Asian Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan last April which helped her maintain her rankings in the IWF.
“What happened to Ando was reminiscent to what happened to Hidilyn. Nobody expected Hidilyn to win in the Olympics, but she proved everyone wrong. Ando has all the chance to win in the Olympics like Hidilyn,” said Ramon Solis, who is one of the coaches of the Cebuana weightlifter.
During the Asian championships, Ando lifted a total of 213 kg She had 94 kg snatch to earn her the bronze medal and has 119 kg clean and jerk to bag the two silver medals.
“We were initially preparing for the Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) but this good news came that Ando qualified. So we will make sure that she will undergo the proper training for both the Olympics and SEA Games.”
Ando was discovered by the Cebu City Sports Commission’s (CCSC) grassroots development program way back in 2013 under the tutelage of Solis and another Cebuano weightlifting coach Gary Hortelano.
Ando did not forget to thank her coaches in Solis, Gary Hortelano, and Christopher Bureros for guiding her in training and competition.
Hortelano, Ando’s neighbor in Barangay Carreta, was the one who discovered the latter in 2013 in CCSC’s program.
He said that all of the pain and struggles his prized athlete had already paid off.
“She deserves everything what she achieved now. She worked hard for this. I always tell her that she will make it to the national team way back when she started in weightlifting. I always told her that she will achieve her dreams if she works hard and strengthen her faith to the Lord,” said Hortelano.
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