HANGZHOU, China – Elreen Ann Ando picked up a bronze medal in women’s weightlifting on Monday night in the 19th Asian Games.
The 24-year-old Tokyo Olympian lifted a total of 222 kilograms built on the strength of her 96 in the snatch and 126 in the clean and jerk to redeem herself from a luckless stint in the Asian championships early this year.
“Nalungkot talaga ako noong nag-zero ako sa Asian championships. Nawala ang lungkot at napalitan ng saya dahil sa medalya na ito (I was said when I went home empty in Asian Championships. Now, I’m happy because this is now a (bronze) medal),’’ Ando said.
It was the first medal for the national lifters after Hidilyn Diaz, John Ceniza and Rosegie Ramos all missed the podium.
Ando’s bronze is the eighth overall for Team Philippines, which also has a gold medal courtesy of pole vaulter EJ Obiena and a silver from sanda fighter Arnel Mandal.
North Korea’s Unsim Rim posted a new Asian Games record in the snatch (111kg), clean and jerk (140) and total (251) on her way to the gold while Pei Xinyi of China settled for the silver with a total of 234.
Ando faltered in the women’s 59kg in the Asian championships in Jinju, South Korea before her SEA Games title.
“Gusto kong bigyan ng reward at birthday gift ang sarili ko dahil matagal ko na gustong magkabahay (I want to give myself a birthday gift because I’ve been dreaming to build my own house),’’ said Ando, who is set to receive a cash windfall of PHP500,000 from the Philippine Sports Commission for her feat and a lot more from private sponsors and the Philippine Olympic Committee.
Ando temporarily switched to 64kg in the Asiad and will revert to 59kg to continue her Olympic qualification bid for the next year’s Paris Olympics.
She will clash head on with Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo in the same weight category in a pair of world cup tournaments in Doha, Qatar in December and in Thailand in February.
Hidilyn, gold medalist in the 2022 Tokyo Olympics, finished fourth in the 59kg behind gold winner Kim Ilgyong of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), silver medalist Luo Shifang of China and bronze medalist Kuo Hsing Chun of Chinese Taipei. (POC-PSC Media Group)