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2024 Summer Olympics

Elreen Ando surpasses Hidilyn Diaz, heads to Paris Games

An Olympian will be attending her second straight Games later this year.

Elreen Ando leapfrogged several weightlifters, including compatriot and Tokyo Olympics champion Hidilyn Diaz, to secure her ticket to the Paris Olympics in the women’s 59 kg weightlifting division.

Just outside the top 10 at the start of the day, the silver medalist from the recent Asian Championships in February capitalized on a good showing at the 2023 IWF World Cup on Wednesday in Phuket, Thailand, with a total lift of 228 kg, finishing seventh at the tournament.

Ando, hailing from Cebu City, also displaced Diaz in the process. Diaz, who moved to the 59 kg category after the 55 kg division, where she secured the country’s first-ever Olympic gold three years ago, was eliminated in the qualification for the Paris Games.

The 25-year-old weightlifter ranked 11th on the long list for Olympic Qualification, with a 222 kg lift set in the World Championships last year in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Ando joins Games debutants Rosegie Ramos and John Ceniza in Paris, with Asian Junior champ Vanessa Sarno waiting for her turn.

The three weightlifters match the three Olympians from boxing: Tokyo silver medalist Nesthy Petecio, Tokyo bronze medalist Eumir Marcial, and Aira Villegas.

Three more athletes, pole vaulter EJ Obiena and gymnasts Alleah Finnegan and Carlos Yulo, complete Team Philippines’ centenary squad.

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Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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