PH weighlifter Elreen Ando secures return to Olympics

elreen ando asian championships 2023 women's 59kg snatch

FILE–Philippines’ Elreen Ando is returning to the Olympics after securing her ticket to the Paris Games.

Elreen Ando surprised everybody with a performance to remember at the International Weightlifting Federation World Cup in Phuket, Thailand on Wednesday night to virtually clinch a return trip to the Olympics.

The Asian Games bronze medalist in the women’s 59kg category secured the ticket to the Paris Olympics after finishing ahead of Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo in their final Olympic qualification face-off.

Ando registered a personal high of 228 kilograms in the total, following a 100 in the snatch and 128 in the clean and jerk, enough to land at seventh overall well inside the qualifying standard in their weight class.

READ: More than the bronze, Elreen Ando wins confidence back in Paris Olympics quest

The 25-year-old Cebuana overshadowed Diaz-Naranjo, the nation’s first and only Olympic gold medalist who finished 11th overall with a total lift of 222 following a 99 in the snatch and 123 in the clean and jerk.

The top 10 lifters in each category will progress to the quadrennial Summer Games where only one representative from a country secures a spot.

Seeking a fifth straight Olympic appearance after her golden stint in Tokyo 2020, Diaz-Naranjo was ahead by one kilogram from Ando after the snatch only to fail in two successive attempts at 127 in the clean and jerk.

READ: Elreen Ando still in contention for Olympics berth after silver

China’s Luo Shifang struck the gold medal with a 248 output while North Korea’s Kim Il Gyong settled for the silver with a 240. Canada’s Maude Charron placed third (236) followed by China’s Pei Xinji (233) and Hsing-Chun Kuo of Chinese Taipei (230).

The IWF will formally announce the final list of athletes who qualified to Paris by the end of the month.

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