Elreen Ando (Photo courtesy of Facebook)

MANILA – The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) announced on Saturday that Elreen Ando has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, the 11th Filipino to make the quadrennial meet that was canceled last year due to the pandemic.

Ando booked a spot through the continental quota given to the best weightlifters from each continent but who are outside the top eight of the world rankings.

Ranked 12th in the world, Ando is the highest-placed Asian to make the cut for the women's Under-64 kilogram division.

She will join World No. 2 in the women's Under-55kg., Hidilyn Diaz, who snatched a silver in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

Aside from her ranking, Diaz made it to Tokyo by meeting the required number of events participated in.

The other Filipino qualifiers are Ernest John Obiena (pole vault); Carlos Yulo (gymnastics); Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio, and Carlo Paalam (boxing); Cris Nievarez (rowing); Kurt Barbosa (taekwondo); and Margielyn Didal (skateboard).

In the Olympics, Ando will be up against Romania's Loredana-Elena Toma, Colombia‘s Mercedes Perez-Tigrero, Canada's Maude Charron, Ecuador‘s Anjie Palacios-Dajomes, Great Britain's Sarah Davies, Italy's Giorgia Bordignon, Chinese Taipei's Chen Wen-Huei, and Cuba's Marina Rodriguez-Mitjan, who all qualified outright through the world rankings.

The other continental quota qualifiers for the women's Under-64 category are Turkey's Nuray Levent, Australia's Kiana Elliott, Tunisia's Chaima Rahmouni, and Nicaragua's Sema Ludrick-Rivas.

The IWF said the final lineup would depend on host Japan, which will use its quota spot.

Should Japan decide not to send a representative in Ando's division, the IWF will hand out a tripartite commission invitation to another weightlifter.

Ando took home two silver medals and a bronze in the Uzbekistan Asian Weightlifting Championships in April.

The 24-year-old Cebuana also settled for the silver medal in the 30th Southeast Asian Games in Manila in December 2019, losing to Vietnam’s Pham Thi Hong Thanh by a kilo, 214 to 213.

International Olympic Committee vice president John Coates said on May 21 that the Tokyo Olympics would go on as planned even if Tokyo and other areas of Japan would be under a state of emergency due to the coronavirus disease 2019.

Still officially called the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, it is set to start on July 23. (PNA)