Heavy favorites Philippines and Thailand renew rivalry as competition in the weightlifting event of the 30th Southeast Asian Games starts Sunday at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium inside RMSC Complex in Manila.
Thailand and host Philippines lead the cast of eight nations that include Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Timor-Leste and Vietnam trying to dominate the four-day competition, which will end Wednesday.
At stake in the event are 10 gold medals, six in the women’s and four in the men’s division with the Philippines’ Hidilyn Diaz ang Nestor Colonia among the top bets in their respective category.
The 28-year-old Diaz, aiming for her first gold in the Sea Games, had just won two bronzes in the 2019 IWF World Championship in Pattaya, Thailand, but she will be challenged in the women’s 55-kg by
20-year-old Khambao Surodchana of Thailand and 17-year-old Indonesian Juliana Klarissa, a 10th finisher in the 2019 World championship in Suva, Fiji.
Also in the same weight division is Vietnam’s Nguyin Thi Thuy, a 5th placer in the 2019 World Cup in China and 6th finisher in the 2019 Asian Championship in Ningbo, China.
In today’s first day of action featuring the Philippines’ John Fabliar Ceniza (55-kg) and Mary Flor Diaz (45-kg), the 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz will display her wares Monday,
while also Olympian Nestor Colonia follow suit on Tuesday in the 67-kg. Men’s division.
Apart from the heavy loaded women’s 55-kg category, the rests will be vying for gold in the 45-kg, 49-kg, 59-kg, 64-kg and 71-kg in the women’s division as well as 55-kg, 61-kg, 67-kg and 73-kg in the men’s class.
SamahangWeighlifting ng Pilipinas (SWP) president MonicoPuentevella will also pinned his hopes on Elreen Rose Perez (49-kg), Margaret Colonia (59-kg), Elreen Ann Ando (64-kg) and Kristel Macrohon (71-kg) in the women’s division and Dave Lloyd Pacaldo (61-kg).
“In the SEA Games, we’re aiming at least four to five medals. I am hoping that we will get at least one or two medals in the men’s and four medals in the women’s class,” said Puentevella.