By WAYLON GALVEZ
Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas (SWP) president Monico Puentevella said Friday that holding the weightlifting events here in Metro Manila will be a boost to athletes when they vie for gold medals in this year’s Southeast Asian Games (SEA) here.
In an earlier decision by the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), weightlifting was assigned to Subic, prompting the SWP chief to propose a change of venue.
“I think it will be beneficial to the national weightlifting team if the support of Filipinos fans is there. The more the people cheering for our athletes, watching them compete for flag and country, the better chances for us to win gold medals,” said Puentevella.
“I think here in Metro Manila, if we have it inside a shopping mall, people will understand and support the sport of weightlifting and our athletes which I think will not happen if we do it in Subic. Nobody will watch us there – it’s inaccessible to the fans.”
Puentevella said he would personally appeal to Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez.
“I got the approval of the Ayala to have it at Trinoma Mall in Quezon City or maybe Glorietta 4 in Makati City in case we want to have it there. It’s accessible to Filipino sports fans,” said Puentevella.
The sport of weightlifting has a total of 10 gold medals at stake, six from the women’s category and four in the men’s. Puetevella said they would lobby to add two more in the men’s to make it six gold medals at stake.
Leading the fight for the national team in the SEA Games are Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, who won the gold medal during last year’s Asian Games, and fellow Olympian Nestor Colonia.