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    Puentevella renews call for weightlifting to be included in school sports

    Aug 17, 2021

    SAMAHANG Weightlifting ng Pilipinas (SWP) president Monico Puentevella backs Hidilyn Diaz's call for the sport to be included in school-based events, reiterating calls for top education officials to reconsider.

    "Now that we have an Olympic gold, I'd like to reiterate our appeal kay [Department of Education] Sec. [Leonor] Briones na pagbalik ng palaro, isama na ang weightlifting," he said on Tuesday's online Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.

    Puentevella said he had discussed with DepEd officials handling the Palarong Pambansa to include the sport in its calendar of events before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

    "Tumawag at nag-explain ako, pero nag-pandemya at nawala tayo ng Palaro for two years. Magkano lang [ang pag-stage ng weightlifting], P500,000 sa lahat ng local government. May record na kami na kaya [mag-medalya]," he said.

    Puentevella shared that he has also reached out to collegiate leagues, specifically UAAP when Diaz bagged the silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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      "Three to four years ago, kami ni Hidilyn nakiusap sa UAAP through Rod Roque," he recounted. "Sumulat kami pero ang sabi kailangan daw apat o lima [na schools] ang sumali. Na-frustrate ako kasi wala namang nangyari."

      In last week's PSA Forum, Diaz called for leagues to consider adding Olympic sports like weightlifting and boxing as these disciplines have proven track record in delivering medals to the country.

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      To Puentevella's count, only University of the Philippines and University of the East have their own weightlifting teams.

      Among the major collegiate leagues, only the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. has weightlifting in its calendar, introducing the sport in 2018.

      Hidilyn Diaz gold medalHidilyn Diaz

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      Nonetheless, the former Bacolod mayor noted that he will try to keep on pushing for weightlifting in the grassroots level to be able to discover the next athletes to follow Diaz' footsteps.

      "Sa Palaro, sana hindi lang lipsync. Sana magkatotoo din sa Palarong Pambansa dahil marami akong bata, mga 12 years old like Hidilyn noon. If we want to help, sana makinig si Sec. Briones at makarating sa kanya ang apela ko," he said, pointing out that before Diaz was a national athlete, she was first discovered through Batang Pinoy.

      "Susulat ako ulit sa UAAP Board kung pwedeng isama. Kailangan mag-encourage tayo sa mga unibersidad. Kung gusto natin lumaki lalo ang weightlifting, tulungan natin."

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