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Hidilyn Diaz misses Paris Olympics cut

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Hidilyn Diaz naranjo Paris Olympics

FILE–Phillippines’ Hidilyn Diaz. The four-time Olympian and the country’s only gold medalist missed a ticket to the Paris Olympics set for this year. –REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo is the nation’s unrivaled heroine in the Olympics after bringing home the first-ever gold medal from the Summer Games.

So when Father Time might have caught up with her on Wednesday night, no tear should be shed for the greatest Filipino weightlifter of all time.

Diaz-Naranjo will miss what could be her fifth straight and last trip to the Olympics after Cebuana Elreen Ando placed ahead of her in their final qualification face-off at the International Weightlifting Federation World Cup in Phuket, Thailand.

READ: Hidilyn Diaz lets it all out in last stretch of Paris Olympics prep

The 25-year-old Ando virtually grabbed the lone ticket available in the women’s 59kg category to the 2024 Paris Olympics after ranking seventh during the meet, eclipsing Diaz-Naranjo who managed to wind up 11th overall.

The top 10 lifters in each category will progress to the quadrennial Games where only one representative from a country can secure a spot.

Ando lifted a personal best of 228 kilograms in the total following a 100 in the snatch and 128 in the clean and jerk, giving her the inside track in meeting the qualifying standard in their weight class.

READ: Out of podium, Hidilyn Diaz picks up insights for Paris Olympic bid

The 33-year-old Diaz-Naranjo, the country’s first Olympic gold medalist who likewise won a silver in the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Games, was ahead by a kilogram from Ando after the snatch, but couldn’t lift 127 in two attempts in the clean and jerk.

Diaz-Naranjo had a total lift of 222 following a 99 in the snatch and 123 in the clean and jerk.

Still, the legacy of Diaz-Naranjo remains intact despite her non-appearance in the Paris meet.

“We have to pay tribute to Hidi. She’s our only Olympic gold medalist and inspired a lot of kids to pick up the sport of weightlifting,’’ said Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas president Monico Puentevella.

With her achievements, Diaz-Naranjo opened the doors for hundreds of young lifters all over the country, including Rosegie Ramos, Vanessa Sarno and Ando, to name a few.

Ando will be in Paris along with early qualifiers EJ Obiena (pole vault), gymnasts Carlos Yulo and Aleah Finnegan, boxers Nesthy Petecio, Eumir Marcial and Aira Villegas and fellow weightlifters John Febuar Ceniza and Ramos.



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The 20-year-old Sarno sees action in the women’s 71kg on Sunday and if the former Asian champion could maintain her fifth overall ranking, she could join them in the French capital as well.





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