By Gab Ferreras, contributing writer
As one of 18 debutants of Team Pilipinas in the recent 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Elreen Ann Ando saw her glimpse of her strong performance in the weightlifting platform.
In the Women's 64 kg event of the weightlifting festivities, Ando placed 7th among 14 competitors last July 27 at the Tokyo International Forum. While the 2019 SEA Games silver medalist Ando didn't managed to score a podium finish in the event, she registered three new national records of 100 kg in Snatch, 122 kg in Clean & Jerk and 222 kg in Total.
In her recent appearance in TOPS Usapang Sports on Air, Ando gave her credits to her coaches based in Cebu for her exceptional lifts.
"Parang nagtutulungan lang po kami lahat ng mga coaches ko sa Cebu (Ramon Solis, Gary Hortelano, Christopher Borreros) na the more pa po na ma-improve ang mga binubuhat ko po, gagawin ko po sa Olympics.", Ando said.
The competition was held, a day after Hidilyn Diaz struck the country's first ever gold medal in Olympic history in the Women's 54 kg. Her gold medal finish serves as an inspiration for Ando to get a better showing in the event. She's also shares her advice for the young national standout.
"Parang nainspire sa nakuha po ni Ate Haidie kasi nakuha na niya ng gold medal tapos kinabukasan parang namotivate siya sa akin before yung laro ko na kakayanin ko po at someday makukuha ko din ang gold medal, the more na mag-inspired na maglaro po. (Sabi nga ni Hidilyn), Magtraining ng maayos tapos magfocus talaga sa pagsasanay. At mag-pray po.", Ando continued.
The 22-year old Cebuana Ando, which was considered from Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas (SWP) President Monico Puentevella as one of the possible successors of Diaz, is eyeing to prepare on her improvements in her training program for the grueling 2022 campaign. She will about to join the Asian Games and SEA Games, as well as qualifying for her second straight Olympic campaign at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Lastly, Ando bares her biggest lesson she learned from her experience playing in the biggest sporting event during the pandemic.
"Para ma-inspired po ako lagi sa mga atleta doon na nakikita ko lahat na mga Olympians po tapos magagaling po lahat.", Ando ended.