Olympic qualifier Ando gets full backing from PSC
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Olympic-bound Cebuana weightlifter Elreen Anne Ando has the full support of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) as she gears up for the Tokyo Olympics this July.
PSC Commissioner and the Philippine team’s chef de mission to the 2021 Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) Ramon Fernandez revealed that they have already prepared the total amount that the 22-year old Ando needs for her preparation heading to the quadrennial games to be held for the second time in Japan.
Ando will need P268,579 for her uniform, weightlifting gear, vitamins and supplements, meal allowance, massage, and sauna.
“The help is continuous not just for Ando, but for all our Olympic-bound athletes including the 22 members of the national weightlifting team. We’ve already sent the equipment they needed while the others will be sent soon,” said Fernandez in a virtual press conference held earlier today at the Hotel Fortuna in downtown, Cebu City.
Ando along with her coaches Ramon Solis, Gary Hortelano, and Christopher Bureros, University of Cebu (UC) athletic director Jessica Honoridez and Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas (SWP) chairman Mark Aliño attended the presser.
“PSC has completely helped all the athletes ever since they started their training abroad. One of these days, we will publicize the financial assistance for all athletes and NSAs because it is the taxpayers’ money. Right now, our help focuses mainly on Olympic-bound athletes, next is for the SEA Games athletes and teams,” added Fernandez.
Fernandez also thanked the University of Cebu (UC), particularly its president, Atty. Augusto Go for his unwavering support to his athletes especially Ando.
He is planning to see Go soon to discuss the upgrading of UC’s weightlifting facility located behind the Cebu Coliseum in downtown Cebu City.
Solis, on his side, has requested two weightlifting sets, a squat rack, and a platform to further enhance the quality of their training not just for Ando, but with the other national team members. Solis’ request was immediately accommodated by the PSC commissioner.
Ando qualified for the Olympics last Saturday, June 12, 2021, via the latest continental rankings of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) in the women’s -64-kilogram division. She was 17th among the 28 qualifiers in the division.
She will join 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz in the weightlifting competition.
Ando is one of the three Cebuana athletes who qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. The other two are Margielyn Didal in skateboarding and judoka Kiyomi Watanabe.
It is also the first time for the Philippines to have two qualified weightlifters in the Olympics according to Aliño.
Ando won three medals including two silvers and a bronze in last April’s Asian Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan which helped her maintain her rank in her division.
Ando, from Barangay Carreta, this city is fully focused on her training which officially started last Monday.
Ando said that she is very grateful for the overwhelming support she has received from the government, particularly, the PSC.
“I’m very grateful for the support from the PSC. Thank you so much, and to UC for their full support in both the competition and training. I did not expect to qualify for this year’s Olympics because my main target is the 2024 Paris Olympics,” said Ando.
Solis said that they will train in Cebu City heading to the Olympics.
“We’re 100 percent focused on training already. We train morning and afternoon. We’re focusing on her first lift attempt which is the most crucial,” said Solis.
The women’s -64kg division competition of the Olympics is scheduled for July 27, 2021.
Ando will be housed in an adjacent hotel near the Cebu Coliseum for the duration of her training all the way to their departure to Tokyo, for safety and health reasons. /rcg
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