John Fabuar Ceniza fell short and failed to add to Team Philippines’ gold medal haul as he claimed the silver while Nary Flor Diaz took the bronze in Day 1 of weightlifting competitions in the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium on Sunday.
The 21-year-old Ceniza tallied a total of 252 kgs to settle for second behind gold medalist Lao Gia Thanh of Vietnam, who finished with 264 kgs in the men’s 55kg event.
Diaz recorded 159kgs to place third in the women’s 45kg event behind Vietnamese Vuong Thi Huyen (172kgs) and Setiawati Lisa of Indonesia (169kgs).
Ceniza failed to lift 153kgs in the clean and jerk category in his second and last attempts to hand over the gold to Thanh.
“Natutuwa ako sa suporta na nakita ko sa mga nanonod kaya masaya ako. Maraming salamat,” Ceniza said.
Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas President Monico Puebtevella was happy with Ceniza’s performance despite missing out on the gold, saying that his Cebuano discovery can get better and may compete in the Tokyo Olympics next year.
“John performed very well. He will get better as we train him for the Tokyo Olympics,” Puentevella said.
The weightlifting NSA head also urged fans to return tomorrow when Asian Games gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz competes at 4 p.m.
A total of 10 gold medals are at stake in the weightlifting event, but the Philippines will only see action in nine events. The national team will not participate in the 73kg men’s category.
Other members of the national team are Dave Llyod Pacaldo (61kg) and Nestor Colonia (67kg), while in the women’s are Elien Rose Perez (49kg), Diaz (55kg), Margaret Colonia (59kg), Elreen Ann Ando (64) and Kristel Macrohon (71kg).
The country’s brightest star Diaz, the silver medalist in the Rio Olympics and gold medal winner during the previous Asian Games, recently trained in Taiwan to complete her preparation for the Games where she is expected to dominate.