MANILA — The Philippines got three silver medals courtesy of 17-year-old Maria Dessa delos Santos in the ongoing Asian Youth and Junior Weightlifting Championship at the Otaku City Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan.
The Grade 11 student at the Universidad de Zamboanga produced the medals from the snatch, clean and jerk, and total in the 53-kg category of the Youth division.
The Asian Youth and Junior Championship is the third international tournament for Dessa, the eldest among two children of SEAG gold medalist Alvin delos Santos.
Dessa’s first competition abroad was the 2016 Olympic qualifying tournament in Uzbekistan followed by the World Youth Championship in Malaysia where she finished fourth.
John Paolo Rivera Jr. and Rosegie Ramos also contributed to the Philippine medal haul in Japan with their bronze medal performances.
Rivera, 15, garnered two bronze medals – clean and jerk, and total – in the 50-kg category while the 13-year-old Ramos picked up her medal from snatch in the 44kg category.
The snatch is the first of two lifts in weightlifting followed by the clean and jerk.
Philippine Weightlifting Association (PWA) Vice President Elbert Atilano said Rivera is the country’s bet in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games while Delos Santos is being eyed to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics along with 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz and Nestor Colonia.
“This is the result of our early preparation and with the full support of Philippine Sports Commission’s new leadership with our new president, former Mayor Monico Puentevella. With the combined effort of our sports leaders, our athletes are inspired but still, we need more help to make sure that we’ll be at par with our competitors in the world,” said Atilano, a veteran coach who heads the Universidad de Zamboanga Weightlifting Training Center. Jean Malanum/PNAnorthboundasia.com