The 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, witnessed a remarkable display of talent and determination as Elreen Ann Ando, a 24-year-old weightlifter from the Philippines, made her nation proud by clinching a well-deserved bronze medal in the women’s weightlifting event.
The monumental achievement came on a Monday night that will be etched in the memory of Filipinos as Ando displayed her incredible strength and resilience on the grand stage.
Ando’s journey to the bronze medal was built on a foundation of hard work, dedication, and a burning desire to redeem herself from an unfortunate stint in the Asian championships earlier in the year.
In a stellar performance, she managed to lift a total of 222 kilograms, showcasing an impressive 96-kilogram snatch and a mighty 126-kilogram clean and jerk. Her triumphant comeback not only brought her immense joy but also marked a turning point in her career.
Ando shared her feelings after the victory, saying, “Nalungkot talaga ako noong nag-zero ako sa Asian Championships. Nawala ang lungkot at napalitan ng saya dahil sa medalya na ito (I was really sad when I had zero in the National Championships. But that turned into joy with this medal).’’
Ando’s bronze medal holds a special place in the hearts of Filipinos as it not only signifies her personal triumph but also the eighth medal for Team Philippines in the Asian Games. The Philippines has been showing great promise on the international sporting stage, with a gold medal courtesy of pole vaulter EJ Obiena and a silver from sanda fighter Arnel Mandal.
The gold medal in the women’s weightlifting event was claimed by North Korea’s Unsim Rim, who delivered a remarkable performance, setting new Asian Games records in the snatch (111kg), clean and jerk (140kg), and total (251kg). China’s Pei Xinyi settled for the silver with a total lift of 234 kilograms. Ando faced fierce competition, and her resilience in securing a bronze was nothing short of inspiring.
The road to success was not without its challenges. Ando’s journey included a disappointing performance in the Asian championships held in Jinju, South Korea, where she encountered hurdles in the women’s 59kg category.
Despite that setback, she persevered and went on to secure the bronze in the Asian Games. Her determination was further fueled by personal goals, as she expressed her desire to reward herself and celebrate her upcoming birthday in style. Ando has her sights set on acquiring her own home, and her recent accomplishment is a significant step toward realizing that dream.
Ando’s achievement not only brought her personal satisfaction but also substantial recognition and support from various quarters. The Philippine Sports Commission is set to award her a cash windfall of P500,000 in recognition of her remarkable feat. Additionally, private sponsors and the Philippine Olympic Committee have extended their support to this promising athlete, recognizing the potential she holds for future success.