By Jean Malanum

GETTING READY. Members of the weightlifting team train in the gym inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in this undated photo. Nine athletes will compete in the Cambodia SEA Games next month. (Contributed photo)

MANILA – Olympian Elreen Ann Ando will lead nine other Filipino weightlifters in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia next month.

Ando, who competed in the women’s 64kg category at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and got the silver medal in the same category during the Vietnam SEA Games last year, will see action in the 59kg category.

Also joining the trip are defending champion Vanessa Sarno (women’s 71kg), Kristel Macrohon (women’s +71kg), Angeline Colonia (women’s 45kg), Lovely Inan (women’s 49kg), Rosalinda Faustino (women’s 55kg), John Febuar Ceniza (men’s 61kg), Dave Lloyd Pacaldo (men’s 67kg) and John Dexter Tabique (men’s 89kg).

Accompanying the nine athletes are coaches Antonio Agustin Jr., Samuel Alegada, Edmundo Jose Cardano and Diwa Delos Santos, and Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas, Inc. (SWP) President Monico Puentevella, who will serve as head of delegation.

“We’ll do okay in Cambodia,” said Puentevella on Tuesday.

The team will leave on May 11. The weightlifting competition will be held from May 13 to 16 at the National Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh.

Colonia, the youngest sibling of 2016 Rio Olympian Nestor Colonia, and Faustino won one gold and one silver medal each at the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Youth World Championships in Durres, Albania last week.

She won three medals at the 2022 Asian Youth and Junior Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. She got the gold medal in snatch with a record lift of 62kgs, erasing the Asian Youth and World Youth records of 61kgs set in 2018. She grabbed the silver medal in clean and jerk (72kgs) and got another gold medal in total (134kgs).

Sarno won two gold medals and one silver medal, Ando got two silver medals and one bronze medal, while Macrohon pocketed two bronze medals at the 2021 Asian Championships also held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

In 2020, Sarno won three gold medals in the online International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Youth World Cup hosted by Lima, Peru.

At the 2019 Manila SEA Games, Macrohon (71kg) won the gold medal while Ando (64kg) and Ceniza (55kg) got the silver medal. (PNA)