Ando’s Olympic medal dream boosted with banning of Romanian world no. 1

By: Glendale G. Rosal - CDN Digital Correspondent | June 18,2021 - 07:41 PM

Olympic-bound Cebuana weightlifter Elreen Anne Ando (2nd from left) receives her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the UC Banilad Science High School campus. She is joined by (from left) UC athletic director Jessica Honoridez, Cebu City Councilor Dondon Hontiveros, and her coach Ramon Solis.  | CDN Digital photo by Glendale G. Rosal

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebuana weightlifter Elreen Anne Ando’s chance of bagging a medal in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics got a massive boost after the women’s -64-kilogram top contender from Romania was banned from the quadrennial meet due to doping allegations.

The world of weightlifting is lately purging athletes who allegedly use illegal substances to enhance their performances, especially those who will compete in the Olympics.

Romania’s Loredana-Elena Toma, the best bet to win the gold medal in the Olympics’ women’s -64kg division is slapped with a one-year ban for multiple doping violations. Aside from her, Romanian Weightlifting Federation President Nicu Vlad is also banned from the Olympics.

The International Testing Agency (ITA) and the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) announced the news earlier today.

For Ando, it is a rare opportunity she cannot miss that is why she vowed to give her all in the weightlifting competition slated on July 27, 2021.

“Dako-dako pud ko ug chance ani kay mas ni duol nako gamay sa rankings siguro. Halos tanan kusgan sa weightlifting, nasakpan na ilang mga tikas sa doping,” said the 22-year old Ando, the pride of University of Cebu (UC) Webmasters.

Ando is ranked 12th in the absolute rankings of the IWF and is one of the two Asians among 28 qualifiers in the women’s -64kg division. The other Asian is Chen Wen-Huei of China who is ranked seventh.

Ando bagged two silver medals and one bronze in last April’s Asian Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

With Toma’s exclusion from the Olympics, No. 2 ranked Mercedes Isabel Perez Tigrero of Colombia will likely take her spot as the new top contender along with Canada’s Maude Charon who is at the No. 3.

Ando explained how athletes accused of doping perform.

She said that the anti-doping officers and athletes alike can easily determine someone who uses performance-enhancing substances because of their uncanny and unnatural strength.

“Depende na sa moduwa. Makita na sa lawas ug sa ilang alsa. Ang mga officials sa anti-doping dali ra makasakop ana nila. Makita nimo nila nga naa jud sila advantage pirmi kay sobraan kaayo ka kusgan unya mahalata na gani kay kaming mga athletes nga limpyo mahibulong na lang mi nga kada adlaw mi mag training pero nganong di man namo maabot ilang kusog?” Ando explained.

Ando assured everyone that she is clean from any prohibited substances. She purely trains with strength, dedication, and heart she said.

“Confident kaayo ko nga limpyo ko sa tanan. Limpyo ko nga atleta, tanan nakita ninyo sa akong dula personal na nako nga kusog jud.”

She is now training in Cebu City under the supervision of national coaches in Ramon Solis, Gary Hortellano, and Christopher Bureros.   /rcg

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TAGS: Cebuana weightlifter, doping allegations, Elreen Anne Ando, Loredana-Elena Toma, Tokyo Olympics

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