Vanessa Sarno lifts new SEA Games record for golden finish

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 21) – Rising Filipina weightlifting sensation Vanessa Sarno stood out in her Southeast Asian Games debut, achieving a record feat and a gold medal.

The 18-year-old Boholana weightlifter won gold in the women's 71kg division of the 31st SEA Games on Saturday at the Hanoi Sports Training and Competition Center in Vietnam.

“I am so happy that I am one of the gold medalists here in the Southeast Asian Games. I never thought I would win the gold because this is my first time here,” said Sarno.

Sarno lifted a total of 239 kilograms, a new SEA Games record for her division.

The Asian weightlifting champion had a close score with silver medalist Siriyakorn Khaipandung of Thailand after leading by a kilogram, 104-103, in the snatch event.

In the clean and jerk event, Sarno successfully aced the 123, 130, and 135 kilogram lifts which completed her perfect outing.

Khaipandung only lifted as high as 120 kilograms in her third clean and jerk attempt to finish with a total of 223 kilograms.

Indonesia's Restu Anggi bagged the bronze medal with a total lift of 212 kilograms.

“I was confident in every lift. I never thought of my opponents, I just focused on my lift, nothing else," Sarno reflected on her golden performance.

Sarno was not the only Filipino weightlifter who brought home a medal on Saturday as Tokyo Olympian Elreen Ando clinched silver in the women's 64kg division.

Ando finished with a total lift of 223 kilograms behind gold medalist and hometown bet Thi Hong Thanh Pham, who also recorded a new SEA Games record of 230 kilograms.

Indonesia's Tsabitha Alfiah Ramadani got the bronze medal with 216 kilograms.

The Philippine weightlifting team has so far won two gold medals, a silver, and a bronze. The country's first Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz won the first gold medal on Friday.