MANILA — Boholano Elien Perez gave the Philippines three gold medals on Sunday at the start of the Asian Cup and Asian Inter-Club Weightlifting Championships in Yanggu County, Gangwon Province, South Korea.
The 18-year-old athlete from Tagbilaran City topped the women’s 53kg category with a total lift of 158kg (71kg snatch and 87kg in clean and jerk) in the competition held at the Yongha Weightlifting Gymnasium.
“I’m so blessed and thankful because the Lord gave me the opportunity to compete in this tournament,” said Perez in an online interview on Monday.
Perez is one of five Filipinos carrying the national colors in the tournament sanctioned by the Asian Weightlifting Federation. The others are Mary Flor Diaz, Dessa delos Santos, Elreen Ando and Margaret Colonia. The athletes are accompanied by coaches Ramon Solis and Allen Diaz.
Before the South Korea tournament, Perez has competed and won three bronze medals in the Senior, Youth and Junior Asian Championship in Kathmandu, Nepal last July.
She also joined the Summer Universiade hosted by Chinese Taipei last August but she only finished ninth in the tournament billed as the Olympic Games of student-athletes.
Representing Western Visayas (Region 7), Perez captured three golds in the 53kg category in the Private Schools Athletic Association Sports Foundation, Inc. (PRISAA) National Games at the Zambales Sports Complex last April. She ruled the 48kgs class in the 2016 (South Cotabato) and 2015 (Iloilo).
Perez is a third year Criminology student from University of Bohol. She was introduced to weightlifting at the age of nine by Samuel Alegada, who has won medals for the country when he was a member of the national team.
Perez saw action in Qatar (Asian Youth Championships) and China (qualifying tournament for the Nanjing Youth Olympics) in 2014. Last year, she went to Uzbekistan (Asian Junior Championships) and Japan (Asian Youth and Junior Championships).