Led by multi-titled Hidilyn Diaz, the 10-man Philippine weightlifting team will see action in various competitions in preparation for the SEA Games which the country will be hosting late this year.
Before the biennial meet, the national lifters will see also see action in the Asian Championship in Ningbo, China on April 17 to 28.
“We feel that what we’ve scheduled for our athletes will really prepare them for the SEA Games,” said Agustin.
“The training in China will really help the athletes improve their techniques, the way they train and their confidence because they’ll be training with other athletes – world class athletes – from other countries,” added Agustin.
With the exception of Diaz, the nine weightlifters will stay in China for two-month training camp.
The 28-yearold Diaz, also the silver medalist during the 2016 Rio Olympics, is already in China for a two-month training at the Wushishan Sports Training Center, and will join the Philippine Team in the Asian Championships.
Aside from Diaz, who will compete in the 55 kilogram, set to compete in the Asian Games are Mary Flor Diaz in 45kg, Rosegie Ramos in the 49kg, Margaret Colonia 59kg, Elreen Anne Ando 64kg and Kristel Macrohon 71kg in the women’s category, John Fabuar Ceniza in the 55kg, Nestor Colonia in the 61kg, Jeff Garcia in the 67kg and John Dexter Tabique in the 81kg.
Agustin said that among the 10 weightlifters, six are possible podium finishers in the Asian Championship.
“I think Nestor, Jeff, Kristel, of course Hidilyn, Mary Flor and Rosegie, they are the athletes who we expect to fight for medals,” said Agustin, adding that the tournament also serves as qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where the tip eight finishers will earn points.
As for the SEA Games, the 10 are already part of the national team training pool, with a few more hoping to qualify for the 10 events scheduled from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.
After the Asian Championship and the two-month training in China of the weightlifting team, some of the athletes will also see action in World Championship in Thailand, and then if possible, return to China for another two-month training before the SEA Games.