TWO Philippine medal bets warmed up for the coming 18th Asian Games by each bagging a gold in the 2nd Hidilyn Diaz Weightlifting Open Championships that came to a close Sunday at the Meralco Fitness Center in Ortigas.
Elreen Ann Ando and Ellen Rose Perez topped their respective divisions in the two-day meet as they gear up for the bigger battle ahead in Indonesia three weeks from now.
The 19-year-old Ando was at the helm of Cebu’s campaign, ruling the women’s 63 kg. event following a total lift of 200 kg.
The senior high school at University of Cebu bested Supawon Hui of Hong Kong (137) and local bet Sonia Pascual (123) for the gold.
Perez, meanwhile, topped the 53-kg event with a lift of 155-kg to beat out Sheryl We Foo of Singapore (146) and PEP entry Marie Justine Talamayan (115) in the tournament backed by the MVP Sports Foundation and Meralco.
Ando and Perez are two of four weightlifters the country will be sending to the Asiad set August 18 to September 2.
‘I’m very happy with the turnout because a lot of athletes joined the event, not only local lifters, but also from different countries,” said Diaz, silver medalist in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“More than that of course, I’m very happy because there are young Filipinos who excelled here, whom our coaches and officials can develop for future international events," added the Zamboanga pride, who will carry the country's banner in the Asiad.
Other winners in the distaff side include Jacinta Sumagaysay of Guam in the 58 kg. category, Mary Flor Diaz (48 kg) and Margaret Colonia (79 kg), both of Zamboanga, and Singapore’s Foo (75 kg).
In the men’s side, another entry from Cebu in John Ceniza ruled the 56 kg. event, Benjie Payay of Hungduan topped the 62 kg event,while Guam’s Raymond Santos clinched the gold in the 69 kg.
Also winning their respective events were Davao City’s Joseph Mangulabnan (77 kg), John Kevin Padullo of University of the East (94 kg), and Lewis Chua of Singapore (105 kg).