Aliño: Ando, Diaz have big chances of snatching medals in Tokyo
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebuana weightlifter Elreen Anne Ando and 2016 Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz have big chances of snatching medals in their respective weight divisions in the Tokyo Olympics in July, this year.
This is according to Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas (SWP) Chairman Mark Aliño during a presser earlier today, June 16 at the Hotel Fortuna.
Aliño also welcomes news reports that the International Testing Agency (ITA) and the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) are starting to uncover the countries that are involved in doping and other performance-enhancing manipulation to gain an advantage during competition.
“I’ll say that they have very big chances for Hidilyn and Elreen because we’re monitoring the international news and other sources that sports cheats from other countries are starting to get caught. They will not be allowed to compete in the Tokyo Olympics,” said Aliño.
The ITA and the IWF are already investigating weightlifters and coaches from Ukraine, Venezuela, Mexico, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, and Colombia for doping allegations, barring them from joining the Tokyo Olympics in July.
Ando officially qualified to the Olympics last Saturday via the continental rankings published by the IWF.
The 30-year old Diaz is ranked No. 2 in the women’s -55-kilogram division behind China’s Qiuyun Liao and ahead of Uzbekistan’s Muattar Nabieva.
The 22-year old Ando, meanwhile, the pride of the University of Cebu is currently ranked 12th in the women’s -64kg division headed by top-ranked Loredana Toma of Romana, Colombia’s Mercedes Tigrero, and Canada’s Maude Charron.
Diaz will spend her training in Malacca, Malaysia while Ando will have her training camp in the University of Cebu’s (UC) weightlifting headquarters which also serves as the SWP’s national team training center at the back of Cebu Coliseum in downtown Cebu City.
Ando on her side expects very tough competition in her division. She said that she needs to train hard since Toma and the other contenders in her division are also setting their sights on the gold medal.
“I don’t feel pressured at all. I’ll just have to focus on my training here in Cebu,” said Ando. /rcg
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