The Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas is reviving a formula that won for it the Philippines’ first and only gold medal at the Olympic Games.
SWP president Monico Puentevella said that they are looking to tap the services anew of a Chinese coach to handle the reigns of the national team leading to the 2024 Paris Olympics, to take over the place left by Gao Kaiwen, who was the mentor of Hidilyn Diaz when she won the gold in the -55kg division of the weightlifting competitions of the Tokyo Olympic Games last year.
Puentevella said the proposal has already been given approval by the old Philippine Sports Commission Board under chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez, which he wishes will be given endorsement by the new administration of the government sports agency.
“Nag-okay na ang PSC Board under chairman Ramirez na kumuha ako ng bagong Chinese coach for the others,” said the former Bacolod congressman and mayor in the online Philippine Sportswriters Association on Tuesday.
“Si Hidilyn kasi will only be with (coach) Julius Naranjo, kaya wala na siyang Chinese coach. So ako, kukuha ng bagong Chinese coach na tutulong (sa national team).”
Hiring another foreign coach, though, depends on the incoming PSC board.
“‘Yan ang problema ko kasi hindi pa natin alam kung sino ang bagong PSC chairman. Maski in-approve ‘yan, titignan muna ang budget kung may natirang pera pa diyan kung puwede,” said Puentevella in the session presented by San Miguel Corporation, MILO, PSC, Philippine Olympic Committee, Amelie Hotel Manila, Unilever, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.
The weightlifting chief added he will also try to work it out with his Chinese counterpart on the matter, noting that of the eight Chinese entries in the Tokyo Olympics, only one failed to bring home the gold in Liao Qiuyun, who was beaten by Diaz in the women’s 55-kg division.
Incidentally, July 26 marked the first year anniversary of Diaz winning a historic first ever Olympic gold medal for the country
“I can meet with the Chinese ambassador and I’m sure he can help us, kasi kailangan marunong mag-English kagaya ni coach Gao,” said Puentevella, who was in Baguio for the Diaz-Naranjo nuptial where he stood as one of the wedding godfathers.
The SWP has a lot of promising weightlifters currently in its pool, including Asian and Southeast Asian Games gold medalists Vanessa Sarno, SEA Games gold winner Kristel Macrohon, Elreen Ando, Mary Flor Diaz, sisters Rose Jean and Rosegie Ramos, and recently Rosalindo Faustino and Angeline Colonia, who broke the Asian and world record in the just concluded Asian Youth and Junior Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
In the light of the country’s surprise showing in the Uzbekistan meet, Puentevella said the Philippines will be bidding to host the World Youth and Junior Weightlifting Championships for next year.
Puentevella will be submitting the SWP bid during the December World Weightlifting Championships in Bogota, Colombia, where the International Weightlifting Federation is going to hold its congress.