The sport of weightlifting can still be included in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas president Monico Puentevella expressed optimism that the sport, along with boxing, will be included in the LA Olympiad.
“I am very optimistic about this. We are given about seven years. Maaayos din ito,” said Puentevella in an online sports forum, reacting to reports that weightlifting and boxing have been dropped from the LA Olympiad.
This could spell doom for the Philippines’ bid considering that weightlifting and boxing delivered the medals for the country in the recent Tokyo Olympics.
Superwoman weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz gave the Philippines its first gold medal in the Tokyo games, while boxers Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam added a silver each, to go with a bronze from their teammate in Eumir Marcial.
In the 2004 Paris Olympics, there will be limited events in the sport of weightlifting, with Diaz’s -55kg category scrapped from the calendar.
Diaz, who is recovering from COVID-19, may have to move to another weight category if she is to see action in the Paris Olympiad, where there are only 10 weight classes, namely 61kg, 73kg, 89kg, 102kg and over-102kg for men and 49kg, 59kg, 71kg, 81kg and over-81kg for women.
The changes took place a year ago when the IOC cut the quota of athletes from 196 in Tokyo 2020 to 120 for Paris 2024.
But the SWP, according to Puentevella is also pinning its hopes on its other bets Elreen Ando in the 59-kg division, and Vanessa Sarno and Kristel Macrohon, who are both in the 71-kg category.
The International Weighlifting Federation is meeting by month’s end and coming up with a final plan that it will send to the International Olympic Committee.
The IOC is set to meet and approve the IWF’s plans by the end of February.
Through the executive board, the IOC had earlier sought the removal of weightlifting from the games and decided to do so in 2028 following numerous corruption scandals and governance failings “that was largely centered around the longstanding problem of doping.”
Puentevella said that he will be sending his proposals to the meeting, which will discuss the future of the sport.
Puentevella added that the sport can be re-included in the program on the condition that “the IWF and its future leadership demonstrates its transition towards compliance and an effective change of culture.”
He said this can be done by addressing the incidence of doping in the sport to ensure the integrity, robustness and full independence of its anti-doping program, according to IOC guidelines.