Elreen Ando secured a bronze medal in women’s weightlifting on Monday night at the 19th Asian Games.
The 24-year-old Tokyo Olympian lifted a total of 222 kilograms, with a snatch of 96 kilograms and a clean and jerk of 126 kilograms, redeeming herself from a disappointing performance in the Asian championships earlier this year.
“Nalungkot talaga ako noong nag-zero ako sa Asian championships. Nawala ang lungkot at napalitan ng saya dahil sa medalya na ito,” said Ando.
This marked the first medal for the national lifters, as Hidilyn Diaz, John Ceniza, and Rosegie Ramos all missed the podium.
Moreover, Ando’s bronze is the eighth overall for Team Philippines, which also includes a gold medal won by pole vaulter EJ Obiena and a silver from sanda fighter Arnel Mandal.
North Korea’s Unsim Rim set new Asian Games records in the snatch (111kg), clean and jerk (140), and total (251) on her way to the gold, while Pei Xinyi of China settled for the silver with a total of 234.
Ando had faced challenges in the women’s 59kg category in the Asian championships held in Jinju, South Korea before her SEA Games victory.
“Gusto kong bigyan ng reward at birthday gift ang sarili ko dahil matagal ko na gustong magkabahay,” said Ando, who is set to receive a cash prize of P500,000 from the Philippine Sports Commission for her achievement, along with additional support from private sponsors and the Philippine Olympic Committee.
Ando temporarily competed in the 64kg category in the Asiad and plans to return to the 59kg category to continue her Olympic qualification journey for the Paris Olympics next year.
She is scheduled to compete directly against Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo in the same weight category in a pair of world cup tournaments in Doha, Qatar in December and in Thailand in February.