The Philippines sent five young weightlifters to the 2023 International Weightlifting Federation World Youth Championship in Durres, Albania, and they brought home a total of seven gold medals, four silvers, and one bronze to rule the overall team standing.
Vietnam placed second with a 3-2-2 medal haul in the largest gathering of world-class youth lifters.
Canada, for its part, finished third with a 3-1-2 collection followed by 3-0-0 Taipei in fourth, 2-2-0 Colombia fifth, and 2-1-0 Turkmenistan sixth.
The most recent gold was won by Rosalinda Faustino in the women’s 55-kilogram category with a 100-kg lift in the clean and jerk, where she also won a silver medal in the total.
Despite slipping to fourth place in the snatch event with a 78 kg tie with Kazakhstan’s Darya Balabayuk, 15-year-old Faustino demonstrated her potential by clinching the gold in the clean and jerk event with a successful 100-kg lift in her second attempt, surpassing Colombia’s Gelen Yulieth Torres Gomez.
Coach Greg Colonia expressed his confidence in the team’s potential to become Olympians someday. The impressive performance of Prince delos Santos, Albert delos Santos, and Erron Borres also indicated that the men’s lifting team has a bright future ahead.
Prince won two golds and a silver in the men’s 49 kg category, while Borres took home a gold, a silver, and a bronze in the same weight class. Albert won two golds in the men’s 61 kg category.
Angelina Colonia, for her part, secured a gold medal in the snatch and a silver medal in the total on Monday, dominating the women’s 45-kg division.
According to Coach Greg, if the kids persevere and enhance their skills, they may become eligible for the Olympic qualifying events of the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
The team’s preparation for the world championships was a collaboration between the athletes and their coaches, Diwa delos Santos and Colonia.
The trip was made possible by the Philippine Sports Commission, MVP Sports Foundation, and SM.
Monico Puentevella, the president of the Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas, expressed his pride in the team’s accomplishments and their potential to represent the country in future Olympic qualifying events. He also noted that the arrival of Delos Santos and Borres comes at a time when the women’s team, led by Tokyo Olympics gold medalist and world champion Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo, has been performing well beyond expectations.
Puentevalla said the boys are catching up with the girls.
The weightlifting team has high hopes for Asian champion Vanessa Sarno, Tokyo Olympian Elreen Ando, Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Kristel Macrohon, and world junior gold medalist Rosegie Ramos to succeed Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo.
Diaz-Naranjo has been monitoring the Filipino youth lifters’ performance in the world youth championships, sharing their live-streamed video competition, and cheering them on.
She also congratulated them on Facebook as she shared the congratulatory post of the Philippine Sports Commission: “Congratulations Philippine Weightlifting team to the athletes and coaches.
Thank you for the support, Philippine Sports Commission #SamahangWeightliftingNgPilipinas Monico Puentevella.”