May 24, 2024

2024 Olympics watch: Vanessa Sarno sets new Philippine record en route to Paris berth

2024 Olympics watch: Vanessa Sarno sets new Philippine record en route to Paris berth
Vanessa Sarno earns a Paris Olympics ticket in the 71kg category. | Photo (c) Roanne Beltran/One Sports

As of April 7, 2024:

Vanessa Sarno clinched a spot in the 2024 Paris Olympics after finishing well within the top ten of the Olympic Qualifying Rankings for the 71kg division.

Sarno lifted 110kg in snatch, surpassing her personal best and resetting the Philippine record. She then cleared 135kg in clean & jerk for a total of 245kg.

It was not enough to surpass the 249kg she tallied in Doha, but it was enough for Sarno to remain in the top 10 of the OQR.

The official and final rankings will be released next month.

Philippine weightlifters status

(The long list includes all athletes who meet the event participation criteria. The OQR lists only one athlete with the highest totals per weight category per country.)

Vanessa Sarno (Women's 71kg) (SECURES OLYMPIC SPOT)

  • OQR ranking (As of March 4): 5th
  • IWF World Cup: 5th (245kg)
  • Highest total: 249kg (Doha)

Kristel Macrohon (Women's 71kg)

  • Long list ranking (As of March 4): 15th
  • IWF World Cup: 14th (233)
  • Highest total: 234kg (Doha)

Vanessa Sarno is going to the 2024 Paris Olympics after finishing well within the top 10 of the Olympic Qualifying Rankings, following the results of the 2024 IWF World Cup.

Sarno, who competed in Group B of the 71kg category, set a new Philippine record in snatch by lifting 110kg in her third attempt. She then cleared 135 in her second clean & jerk for a total of 245kg.

It was not enough to surpass her best in the qualifiers, which was 249kg in Doha, but the result was enough to finish fifth in the IWF World Cup and remain in the top 10 of the OQR.

Meanwhile, Kristel Macrohon finished 14th with a 103kg snatch and a 130 clean & jerk for a total of 233kg.

Elreen Ando (Women's 59kg) (SECURES OLYMPIC SPOT)

  • Long list ranking (As of March 4): 11th
  • IWF World Cup: 7th (228kg)
  • Highest total: 222kg (Riyadh)

Hidilyn Diaz (Women's 59kg)

  • OQR ranking (As of March 4): 8th
  • IWF World Cup: 11th (222kg) 
  • Highest total: 224kg (Riyadh)

The battle for the Paris Olympic spot between Hidilyn Diaz and Elreen Ando turned out to be an exciting one.

The 2024 Summer Games significantly narrowed the field for competitors in the weightlifting category. 

The 55kg division, where Diaz won the Philippines' first ever Olympics gold medal, was not included. This forced her to move up to the 59kg division.

Meanwhile, Ando competed in the 64kg division in Tokyo, where she finished seventh. This too was removed, so she had to move down to the 59kg category.

Before the IWF World Cup, Diaz had the spot--sitting eighth in the OQR. Ando was 11th in the long list.

During the snatch, Diaz started modestly at 93kg before clearing 99kg. She had a chance to surpass her best in the 59kg category by lifting 101kg. Unfortunately, she was not able to hold the barbell long enough.

Meanwhile, Ando successfully saved 100kg on her second attempt. She tried to clear 102kg, but was unable to do so.

In the clean & jerk, Diaz quickly cleared 123kg on her first attempt. Ando would need 125kg to get past her. It was deemed a no lift.

Ando tried again. Her second attempt was successful, surging past Diaz for the Paris Olympics berth. 

Now battling for her spot, Diaz increased her weight from 126kg to 127kg--equaling the most she has made in this category. She was unable to make the lift.

The Tokyo 2020 gold medalist in the 55kg category had one more shot to get her spot back--and only 30 seconds to lift. It was not enough as Diaz finds her road to Paris closed.

Ando had another shot and successfully cleared 128kg, pushing her total up to 228kg--a marked improvement from the 222kg she lifted in Riyadh.

With this, Ando beat Diaz for the Philippine berth in the women's 59kg category.

Now, Diaz shares she would have time for the one thing she postponed due to the Olympics qualifiers--her honeymoon.

"I love this sport, I don’t want to stop. But what I have to do now is take a good rest and think about the priorities in my life. Today wasn’t my day, Paris was not to be," Diaz told the IWF.

"But overall I’m happy. I’ve given a lot to this sport and it’s given a lot to me."

John Febuar Ceniza (Men's 61kg) (SECURES OLYMPIC SPOT)

  • OQR ranking (As of March 4): 6th
  • IWF World Cup: 4th (300kg)
  • Highest total: 298kg (Doha)

Ceniza finished fourth in the IWF World Cup with a total lift of 300kg, improving on his 298kg registered in Doha, Qatar. 

The 26-year-old Filipino had his best snatch at 132kg. He tried lifting 134kg, but failed to do so. However, Ceniza was steadier in clean & jerk, finishing with 168kg--three kilograms better than his performance in Doha.

Ceniza, who was sixth in the OQR prior to the IWF World Cup, is likely to remain well within the top ten after the final qualifiers in Thailand.

"Febuar will be in the top five," Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas (SWF) President Monico Puentevella told One Sports.

Ceniza also shared his mindset in improving on his Doha lift after missing the Asian Championships in February due to a hip injury.

“Train hard every day, forget your problems, that’s the way to prepare and that’s what I did,” Ceniza told the IWF. “It’s my dream to be an Olympian, and to be the first man to win a weightlifting medal for the Philippines.”

Li Fabin of China finished first with 312kg, followed by Hampton Morris of the USA with 303kg, and Pak Myong Jin of North Korea with 301kg. However, Pak is not in the Olympic qualification ranking.

The final and official ranking will be released next month.

Rosegie Ramos (Women's 49kg)

  • OQR ranking (As of March 4): 9th
  • IWF World Cup result: 8th (190kg)
  • Highest total: 191kg (Doha)

Ramos finished first in Group B with a snatch of 87kg (tied for fourth best overall), a clean & jerk of 103kg (tied for ninth best overall), with a total of 190kg.

This is not yet an assurance of an Olympic berth though. Comparing the long list (as of March 4) and the results of the IWF World Cup in this category, Ramos' highest total of 191kg pushes her one spot below 10th place.

"[Ramos] may yet make it to Paris if Nina Sterckx from Belgium, ranked at two weights, performs well at 59kg on Wednesday," the IWF reported.

Sterckx though was unable to crack the top 10 of the 59kg division and finished with 216kg. She is likely to compete in the 49kg--pushing Ramos out of Olympic contention.

Meanwhile, North Korea's Ri Song Gum, who lifted the highest total of 221kg in the IWF, is not eligible for a Paris berth because her nation entered the qualifications too late. This means Tokyo Olympics champion Hou Zhuhui earns the Paris spot after lifting a total of 217kg, besting her previous record of 211kg in Riyadh. She also bests her teammate Jiang Huihua's personal record of 216kg in Doha.

How do weightlifters qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics?

Athletes secure their spot by racking up points in the qualification events. The 2024 International Weightliting Federation (IWF) World Cup is the last chance for weightlifters to earn points.

As host country, France will be allocated four quota places, two for men and two for women.

There will also be 10 quota places reserved for continental representation and six quota places for Universality places, which will be decided by the Tripartite Commission.

The top ten athletes in the Olympic Qualifying Rankings (OQR) will be allocated their quota place. This OQR lists the highest total lifted by a competitor.

Each country will only be able to qualify one athlete per weight class, and three per gender across all weight categories.

That means only a maximum of 12 athletes will be competing in each weight category in Paris.

If a country has more than three athletes per gender across different weight categories in the top 10, they must declare which athletes will be allocated the Olympic quotas.


  • April 28: End of Olympic qualifiers
  • May 1: The IWF notifies countries which have athletes in the top 10 of the OQR in more than one category.
  • May 8: The OQR is updated.
  • May 10: The IWF notifies countries that have more than three per gender ranked in the top 10. The countries would have to choose their selected athletes.
  • May 24: The IWF publishes the final Qualification Ranking list and notifies countries abut the allocated quota places obtained through the top 10 and via continental representation.
  • June 14: Tripartite Commission confirms the allocation of Universality Places to countries

(With reports from Roanne Beltran)