Philippine Daily Inquirer

SARNO PROVES SKEPTICS WRONG IN BAGGING PARIS SLOT AS TOUGHER WORK STARTS

- By June Navarro @junavINQ

Vanessa Sarno will start 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 three in the Olympics,’’ said Sarno, who closed out the Philippine participat­ion in the Internatio­nal Weightlift­ing Federation (IWF) 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 71-kilogram 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 finish 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 for 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).

Staying humble

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 in Bohol chose to be humble 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.

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

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.

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