An heir apparent to 2016 Rio Olympic Games silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz?
National weightlifting federation chief Monico Puentevella said he believed he has discovered one such person in teen Boholano weightlifter Vanessa Sarno, who woke up early Tuesday morning and came through with a sweep of the women’s 71-kilogram division in the first online Youth World Cup weightlifting championships.
Sarno, 18, who copped 2 golds and 1 silver in the 2019 Asian Youth and Junior weightlifting competition in Pyongyang, North Korea, surpassed her previous feat in the event sanctioned by the International Weightlifting Federation.
From her hometown of Tagbilaran, Sarno tallied 91 kilograms in the snatch, 118 kilos in the clean-and-jerk for a total lift of 211 kilos for her 3 mints in the event organized by the Peruvian Weightlifting Federation that drew 366 participants from 66 countries.
“With enough determination and mental toughness, Vanna (Sarno’s nickname) could be the next Hidilyn Diaz,” Puentevella said, referring to the Zamboanga City pride, who also won golds in the 2018 Asian Games and 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
“That she was able to execute this very early this morning shows that Vanna (Sarno’s nickname) is really something else. She kept her calm performing for three judges and five jury members from Peru.
“This girl is someone that we have been looking out for in a long time. That she was able to do the feat despite the lack of proper training and equipment makes her performance even more amazing.”
Based in Bacolod, Negros Occidental, the president of the Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas, the sport’s national governing body, said the association’s equipment was still at SWP gym at Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila while a majority of the lifters went home to their respective provinces.
He praised national coach Nicolas Jaluag, who was also in Bohol, for keeping Sarno in competitive form so she could still stand out despite the COVID-19 conditions.