VANESSA Sarno has topped the Tashkent Asian Championships at the age of 17 years old and the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games at 18.
Now a year older, the Tabilaran, Bohol lass will try to add another conquest to her growing list of triumphs and prove she’s the worthy successor to Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo’s throne as queen of Philippine weightlifting as she plunges into World Championships action in Bogota, Colombia tonight.
The sky is the limit for Ms. Sarno, who is being tipped as the heiress to the Filipina Tokyo Olympics gold winner after her exploits in the international meets that included a fifth-place finish in the Worlds in Tashkent, Uzbekistan a year ago at only 18.
Ms. Sarno will plunge into action in the women’s 71-kilogram division alongside countrywoman Kristel Macrohon, a SEA Games mint winner herself, and try to send some shockwaves down the competition hall against the world’s best and strongest headed by Commonwealth Games titlist Marie Fegue of Cameroon.
Other notable names in Ms. Sarno’s division are two-time Pan-American silver medalist Mari Sanchez of Colombia and three-time European queen Loredana Toma of Romania.
Ms. Sarno will give it her all and try to add to the three glittering gold snared by Ms. Diaz-Naranjo in the 55kg class several days back.
Precious qualifying points to the 2024 Paris Games also await Ms. Sarno, who is being groomed to make the cut in the next edition of the quadrennial event alongside Ms. Diaz-Naranjo and possibly more.
“We’re eyeing to earn qualifying points here, not just medals,” said Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas President Monico Puentevella. — Joey Villar