National lifters set for double duty – rezal404

Vanessa Sarno says she will be competing in back-to-back tournaments with a short turnaround for the first time.

Vanessa Sarno says she will be competing in back-to-back tournaments with a short turnaround for the first time. FRANCIS TJ OCHOA

Before heading to defend her title in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, Vanessa Sarno will lead a crack crew of weightlifters to the 2023 Asian Championships in Jinju, South Korea.

“The Asian [championships] is an Olympic qualifier, so we have to focus,” Sarno told the Inquirer on Wednesday.

And then there’s the quick turnaround before heading for Cambodia for the SEA Games.

It will be new territory for Sarno, who will have just six days of recovery in between her two events.

“I can’t really say if I can break the SEA Games record because I’ll be coming from the Asian [championships],” said the former Asian junior and senior champion, who competes in the women’s 71-kilogram (kg) competition. “But I’ll still do my best to be better in the SEA Games.

“I want to win the gold. I just can’t say if I can better my record. We’re going to do heavy [load] in the Asian [championships] and then it’s going to be difficult to go heavy again in the SEA Games with just one week [in between].”

A scheduling mixup led to the close calendar dates of the Asian Championships and the SEA Games, forcing some members of the Philippine squad into double duty.

“With what is happening, we just have to adjust,” said Edmundo Jose Cardano, one of the coaches overseeing the training of the national weightlifting team.

“We’re just preparing them so that there won’t be any injuries,” added another coach, Samuel Alegada.

Elreen Ann Ando, ​​​​who will compete in the 59-kg class that puts her on a collision course with compatriot and Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo, said that she will approach both tournaments like they are part of her training regimen.

“I just keep in mind that if I can do it in training, I can do it more in the competition because that’s what we’ve been preparing for,” Ando, ​​​​who has a silver medal in the regional meet, said. “We’re [doing] heavy [loads] every day in training so we should be able to do it in tournaments.” John Fabuar Ceniza, another SEA Games silver medalist who is also looking for gold in Cambodia, is also one of five lifters who will compete in Korea and Cambodia, but he has had experience in back-to-back tournaments in the past.

“I’ve done it before. I competed here and then in China two weeks later,” he said.

Cardano said that while it will be a challenge for the lifters to compete in one tournament and then immediately prepare for the next one in a short period of time, the situation has its advantages.

“If they medal in Korea, they will become [more confident] in the SEA Games,” he said.

The Asian Championships contingent will leave for Korea on May 2.

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