Watch out for Ando!

- Jun Lomibao

TOKYO—WATCH out for Elreen Ann Ando come the Paris 2024 Olympics.

“That girl is good. Take care of her,” Monico Puentevell­a quoted Internatio­nal Weightlift­ing Federation secretary general Hasan Jalood Mohammed as saying when the Olympic newcomer competed in women’s 64 kgs class of weightlift­ing on Tuesday night at the Tokyo Internatio­nal Forum.

Puentevell­a, president of the Samahang Weightlift­ing ng Pilipinas, said that although Ando wasn’t good for a podium finish at the Tokyo Olympics, the sport’s internatio­nal officials were excited about her future.

“That’s the same thing Hasan Mohammed told me when he first saw Hidilyn (Diaz),” Puentevell­a said.

Diaz was a wildcard at 18 years old at the Beijing 2008 Olympics but progressed into a gold medalist in Tokyo. Ando, too, finished without a medal at seventh place in Tokyo but left a trail full of promise.

Puentevell­a said the associatio­n is ready to invest in the 22-year-old from Cebu City.

“What I’m doing to Ando is what I did to Hidilyn,” said Puentevell­a, shortly before their departure for Manila on Wednesday morning.

Ando was 10 kilograms short of the winning lift of eventual gold medal winner Maude Charron of Canada. Silver medalist Giorgia Bordignon of Italy was also way ahead of Ando with a total lift of 232kg.

But Puentevell­a is hopeful a good program for Ando could make her a medal contender in future Olympics.

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