ELREEN Ann Ando was reduced to tears after settling for a silver medal in the weightlifting competitions of the 30th Southeast Asian Games on Tuesday at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
Ando, in her first SEA Games, missed the gold medal in the women’s 64 kilogram division by just one kilo after she lifted a total of 213. Pham Thi Hong Thanh of Vietnam won the mint with a 214.
The 24-year-old Cebuana was ahead after a 98 in the snatch over Pham, who had a 90. Ando was going for the win after a 115 in the second lift gave her 214.
During the clean and jerk, Pham was set to attempt a 120 on the second of her three lifts, but asked for a heavier weight of 124, which under the rules automatically gives the turn to Ando, a strategic move usual in weightlifting competitions according to officials.
But Ando failed in her third and final attempt that could have sealed the gold after the one-minute prescribed time given to her to take the lift lapsed.
Ando admitted she was surprised that it was already her turn when the Vietnamese lifter passed.
“Nabigla na lang ako sa third attempt ko, wala nang oras,” said Ando. “Akala ko sa Vietnam pa ‘yung oras. Pagbuhat ko na, oras na pala sa akin kaya na-bad lift ako. First time sana mag-gold. First time sana SEA Games.”
Pham took advantage and lifted 124 in her third and final attempt to win by one kilo.
Ando was in tears on her way out of the competition area where she was given a big hug by Hidilyn Diaz, who won gold on Monday.
“Sa Pilipinas na sana ‘yung gold kaso hindi ko nabuhat ‘yung 120 kasi naabutan ng oras. Masakit talaga sa feelings. Kala mo gold ka na. Nagpapasalamat pa rin ako sa mga coaches na tumulong sa akin at sa mga officials,” said Ando.
Ando, however, vowed to bounce back next time in the SEA Games.
“Kaya kala namin gold na talaga ako. Naabutan talaga ng oras. Pero bawi na lang next time,” said Ando.
Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas president Monico Puentevella said Ando has a bright future in the sport.
“Ang bata na ito, sasali ito sa Olympics dahil may puso siya. Maniwala kayo. In this Tokyo Olympics, hahabulin niya ‘yan. Problema lang, nagkamali kami sa panahon, sa one-minute requirement. Lahat ‘yan may dahilan pero babalik itong batang ito. Baka makita niyo pa siya sa Olympics,” said Puentevella.