Proving her worth as Asian Champion, Vanessa Sarno handily ruled in record-breaking fashion the women’s 71 kg class of weightlifting Saturday for a triumphant debut in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
A day after Tokyo Olympics champion Hidilyn Diaz retained her crown in the 55kg class and set a new snatch record of 93kg,
Sarno crushed the competition, lifting 104kg in the snatch and 135kg in the clean and jerk for a 239kg total, all new SEA Games and Philippine records.
Siriyakorn Khaipandung of Thailand proved no match for the emerging star of Philippine weightlifting, settling for the silver with a total lift of 223kg, while Indon Restu Anggi finished way behind in third with a total of 212kg.
“I am so happy that I am one of the gold medalists here in the Southeast Asian Games. I never thought I would win the gold because this is my first time here,” said Sarno, a proud product of Bohol who won two gold medals in April last year in the Asian Weightlifting Championships Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. “I really prepared for this seriously and trained very hard.
“I was confident in every lift. I never thought of my opponents, I just focused on my lift, nothing else. I cried and prayed every night to win the SEA Games title. I encountered a lot of hardships in my personal life before this competition,” added the 18-year-old native of Bohol, who was among those who cheered for Diaz last Friday at the Hanoi Training and Sports Competition Center.