UC lifter eyes Tokyo Olympics

WEIGHTLIFTER Elreen Ann Ando received a cash incentive from the University of Cebu (UC) on Friday, Dec. 20, 2019, for her silver medal finish in the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

Ando, 21, paid a courtesy call on UC president Augusto Go, who promised to support the former on her dream to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Ando received P100,000 as cash incentive from UC.

“It’s not only for UC but for the Philippines. (It showed) that we can produce one of the country’s top weightlifters. I’m very proud of that. She’s one of the strongest ladies in the Philippines now. I hope she makes it to the top on her next competition,” said lawyer Go.

“We will help with her training to get that goal,” added Go.

“This is the first time that I was welcomed. I’m thankful to UC,” said the senior high student Ando.

Cyclist Pamela Jane Ruiz, a second year nursing student who represented the country in the downhill event, also paid a courtesy call on Go. Ruiz finished at seventh place in the women’s downhill.

“I’m happy that I was recognized even if I did not get a podium finish,” said Ruiz, who received an P8,000 incentive from the school.

Ando, a homegrown talent who started her career in local sporting meets, is now eyeing to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. To get a slot she must join qualifying events to gain points.

She will be flying to Rome, Italy in January and also to Kazakhstan for the last two qualifying events. The Summer Games is set on June 24 to Aug. 9 next year.

“Our goal is for her to qualify. We’re hoping that we can get a slot in the final two qualifiers,” said weightlifting coach and former national athlete Ramon Solis.

UC’s athletic director Jessica Honoridez said the school is focusing on character development above all else.

“The school nurtures student-athletes and not just sends them to competitions. We value academics, when she goes out of Cebu we give her assignments and a list of what to do,” she said.

“We are happy about her performance in the SEA Games. The school administration will support her. Hopefully she gets to qualify in the Olympics,” ended Honoridez.

Ando won a silver medal in the women’s 64-kilogram division.

Ando was leading most of the way but was hit with technicalities as judges ruled a ‘no lift’ as time ran out on her third and final attempt in the clean and jerk. She settled for a silver medal in her first SEA Games, losing the gold to Vietnam’s Pham Thi Hong Thanh. (RSC)