Freeman Cebu Sports

Two uc athletes to Paris Olympics

SPORTS EYE - Raffy Uytiepo - The Freeman

University of Cebu owner Atty. Augusto “Gus” Go must be grinning from ear to ear with two UC alumni and former athletics team  members qualifying for the Paris Olympics. Elreen Ando and John Febuar Ceniza booked tickets to the Games after qualifying in the International Weightlifting Federation World Cup in Phuket, Thailand. Ceniza became the third Cebuano lifter to make it into the Olympics. The 26-year old Ceniza, who represented the Philippines in the 2019 World Weightlifting Championship, wound up fourth in Phuket in the 61kg category with a total lift of 300kg. On the other hand, Ando qualified after beating Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo in the 59kg category, relegating the Tokyo champion to 11th place. Diaz-Naranjo ended the country’s Olympic gold drought  that took nearly a century when she ruled the 55kg in Tokyo. Diaz-Naranjo was forced to the move to the heavier class (59 kg) when the 55kg was abolished, thus, opening a path for the two Pinays to slug it out in the 59kg.  Ando finished seventh in Tokyo in the 64kg,  which was also wiped out in Paris. Ando, 25, finished seventh in Phuket where the top 10 lifters in each category will advance to the Games. Diaz-Naranjo was ahead by a kilogram after the snatch but couldn’t lift 127 in two attempts in the clean and jerk  Ando lifted a personal best of 228kg in total, following a 100 in the snatch and 128 in the clean and jerk

Shed no tears for hidilyn

Despite her loss, Diaz-Naranjo will always be looked-up to. She won a silver in the 2016 Rio Olympics and that elusive gold in Tokyo. She’s thinking of retiring but will help further the development of Rosegie Ramos, Vanessa Sarno and Ando. By the way, Rosegie Ramos, who also qualified for Paris, is Diaz-Naranjo’s cousin. The 20-year Ramos topped Group B of the women’s 49kg with a total lift of 190kg. She was a two-time Asian Junior champion and SEA Games bronze medalist, Good Luck guys!

NOTES:Filipina fencer Maxine Esteban qualified for the Paris Olympics but will represent Ivory Coast. Esteban switched national federation in 2023 and was not part of the Philippine Fencing Team in the Cambodia SEA Games.

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