MANILA, Philippines -- The local weightlifting federation is planning to hold its national open in October, with Bacolod tentatively set to host the competition.
Monico Puentevella, president of the Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas (SWP), said this week that he will seek clearance from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to hold the national open in Bacolod.
"Baka mga October 20 ko ilagay ang national open," Puentevella said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.
"I have to clear the problem with the IATF, kung payagan nila kami na magkaroon ng national open sa Bacolod," he also said. "Kasi baka sabihin ng mga mayors, bakit namin kayo bibigyan ng pera, baka magkahawahan kayo sa Bacolod. So huwag muna. 'Yun ang problema ko."
The national weightlifting open will also serve as a tryout to determine who will represent the country in the World Weightlifting Championships that will be held in Lima, Peru in November.
Already set to compete in the world championships is Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz, but Puentevella is hopeful that more Filipinos can join her.
"This national open will be a tryout," he explained. "Diyan ko malalaman kung sino ang papasok muna sa world championship sa Peru."
"It will not only be Hidilyn in Peru," he stressed.
Among the lifters who hope to qualify are Tokyo Olympian Elreen Ando, Asian champion Vanessa Sarno, and Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Kristel Macrohon.
Puentevella acknowledged that the younger lifters may not reach the podium in the worlds, but he believes sending them to such a big tournament is a crucial part of their progress. This, he said, is how Diaz improved and became world class.
"Isasali ko sa world championship para talagang maramdaman nila ang pressure," he said.
"Maski mabugbog 'yan sa world championship, it does not matter with me. Basta kailangan, dumaan sila sa karayom," he added. "I don't care if they all lose in the world championship, as long as they know kung sino ang kalaban nila. Because that is what happened with Hidilyn."