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Sarno Priorities: Qualifying first, Olympics next


Sarno Priorities: Qualifying first, Olympics next

Southeast Asian Games – Weightlifting – Olympic Taekwondo Hall, Phnom Penh, Cambodia – May 15, 2023 Philippines’ Vanessa Palomar Sarno reacts during the women’s – 71kg REUTERS/Cindy Liu

Vanessa Sarno knows the exact figures that would propel her to the medal platform of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Although the numbers are quite daunting, Sarno has been keeping the faith.

The 20-year-old former Asian champion is awaiting her turn on the mat in the women’s 71-kilogram division scheduled on Sunday at the ongoing International Weightlifting Federation World Cup in Phuket, Thailand.

“For this tournament, my target is to lift 110 (kg) in the snatch and 143 in the clean and jerk,” Sarno told the Inquirer.Her best lift so far has a total of 249, four kilos off her goal.

But one happy thought going for Sarno is the necessity to maintain her Olympic ranking at the Phuket worlds—the last qualification tournament for the Paris Summer Games.

“Right now, I’m running fifth. I’ll just have to maintain it,’’ said Sarno, seeking to accompany fellow weightlifter Rosegie Ramos in the French capital come July.

The top 10 in her weight category will advance to Paris after the Phuket meet.

Ramos placed eighth overall in the women’s 49 kg after her world cup stint on Monday, becoming the seventh Filipino to qualify in this year’s global quadrennial Games.

She’ll be joining pole vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnasts Carlos Yulo and Aleah Finnegan and boxers Eumir Marcial, Aira Villegas and Nesthy Petecio.

Other bets

Aside from Sarno, John Febuar Ceniza (men’s 61 kg) and Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo (women’s 59 kg) are likewise vying for Olympic spots.

“People say that it’s quite unexpected that I’m already competing at the elite level. I don’t pressure myself. I see all of my failures in the past as learning experiences,’’ said Sarno, who trained at Rizal Memorial Sports Complex during her Olympic qualification buildup.

At the age of 17, Sarno clinched the gold medal in the 71-kg category of the 2020 Asian Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and ruled the weight class back to back in the 2021 Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam and 2023 in Cambodia.

She finished with a silver medal in last year’s Asian championships in Jinju, South Korea.

“To win a medal in Paris, I would need a total of 260 to 265. That’s a lot of weight that I need to improve on,’’ said Sarno.

China’s Liao Guifang topped the last world championship in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with a 273 lift, Ecuador’s Angie Palacios got the silver (255) and Olivia Reeves of the United States placed third (253).

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“We can plan again on how I will reach the top 3 in the Olympics. For now, my focus is to stay at my current ranking,’’ said Sarno. INQ

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