Home Sports Paris Olympics-bound Sarno braces for ‘tougher’ prep in medal bid

Paris Olympics-bound Sarno braces for ‘tougher’ prep in medal bid


Southeast Asian Games - Weightlifting - Olympic Taekwondo Hall, Phnom Penh, Cambodia - May 15, 2023 Philippines' Vanessa Palomar Sarno in action during the women's - 71kg

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

MANILA, Philippines–Vanessa Sarno will begin shifting to a more demanding training program in her quest to topple the toughest bunch in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“We will plan again on how I can reach the top 3 in the Olympics,’’ said Sarno, who closed out the Philippine participation in the International Weightlifting Federation World Cup in Phuket, Thailand on Sunday with a sure trip to the glitzy French capital.

The 20-year-old Asian champion lifted 245 kilograms in the women’s 71kg category, clearing 135 in the clean and jerk and resetting her own national record with a 110 in the snatch.

These numbers, though, won’t be enough for a podium accomplishment in the Olympics.

“I would need a total of 260 to 265 if I want to win a medal in Paris. It’s going to be tougher than my preparations in the qualification tournaments,” said Sarno.

China’s Liao Guifang topped the 2023 world championship in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with a 273, Ecuador’s Angie Palacios got the silver (255) and Olivia Reeves of the United States placed third (253).

In Phuket on Sunday, Reeves topped their weight class with a 268 followed by Liao (264) and North Korea’s Song Kuk Hyang (261).

Sarno, who maintained her No. 5 ranking after completing five qualification meets, silenced her critics who doubted her ability to punch a ticket to the Olympics.

But instead of lashing at her detractors, the pride of Tagbilaran City, Bohol chose the path to humility in stamping out these skeptics.

“To someone who told me that I don’t stand a chance to qualify for the Olympics, thank you,’’ said Sarno.

There were Sarno disbelievers but she was likewise showered with support throughout her buildup.

Health issues hounded the back-to-back Southeast Asian Games champion prior to the Phuket meet, the last qualification tournament for the Olympics.

Sarno injured her elbow during the Riyadh worlds last year and recently recovered from a hurting lower back.

Already assured of Olympic spots with Sarno are lifters John Ceniza (men’s 61kg) and Elreen Ando (women’s 59kg) while the status of Rosegie Ramos hangs in the balance in the women’s 49kg.

The 20-year-old Ramos wound up sixth in the snatch, 10th in the clean and jerk and eighth in the total after the Phuket world cup. The IWF will announce the official list of Olympic qualifiers early next month.

“We now have three or possibly four weightlifters in Paris. Many years ago, we started with one (Hidilyn Diaz), then two in Brazil (2016) and Tokyo (2020) and now three or four to be confirmed officially by the IWF,” said Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas president Monico Puentevella.

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“These are new kids on the block. Even with the loss of our Tokyo gold medalist Hidilyn, please remember that she inspired these new lifters,” added Puentevella.

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