Two weightlifting scholars of the Alsons Power Group, who can be the country’s next Olympic hopefuls, returned to Zamboanga City from Urgench, Uzbekistan where they competed in the recent 19th Asian Youth Championships with impressive finishes.
Rosegie Ramos, 13, and Jane Linete Hipolito, 16, are hoping to qualify for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Buenos Aires, Argentina this October which gathers top athletes from all over the world aged 15-18 who will compete in over 20 events including weightlifting.
Ramos was able to finish fourth in the 44-kg category while Hipolito placed fifth in the 53-kg category. The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) will confirm qualification places to the 2018 Youth Olympics for each country soon.
Both young weightlifters, who are from Zamboanga City, are beneficiaries of the Alsons Power-Hidilyn Diaz scholarship program spearheaded by the Mindanao-based power firm and 2016 Rio Olympics weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz, who encouraged the young hopefuls to endure the hardships of training and focus on the competition.
“I’m happy to see that more girls are going into weightlifting and aiming to become Olympic medalists as well. I am hopeful that weightlifting will grow with more kids getting into the sports not just from Zamboanga City or Cebu but all over the Philippines who can become the next Hidilyn Diaz,” said the Olympic medalist, expressing optimism that both girls have a chance to qualify for the Youth Olympics.
Ramos has won several golds, a silver and bronze in Philippine youth competitions from 2014 to 2016 and also bagged a bronze during the 2016 weightlifting competitions in Tokyo, Japan. Last year, she took home silver in the Hidilyn Diaz Weightlifting Open Championships (HDWOC) and the gold during the Zamboanga Hermosa Weightlifting Championships (ZHWC).
The 16-year-old Hipolito, on the other hand, won two golds and a silver during the Batang Pinoy competition in 2014 and 2015 as well as a bronze in the 2016 weightlifting competition in Tokyo. She also bagged a gold in the 2016 National Batang Pinoy competition and a silver both in the 2017 HDWOC and ZHWC.
The Alsons Power-Hidilyn Diaz scholarship program is one of the initiatives of the power company to help provide more educational opportunities to young people in different areas in Mindanao including Zamboanga City where Alsons is the primary supplier of electricity through its 100-megawatt Western Mindanao Power Corporation diesel plant in Barangay Sangali.
Alsons Power, Mindanao’s first and most experienced independent power producer, will soon begin constructing a 105-megawatt baseload coal-fired power plant in Barangay Talisayan also in Zamboanga City. The company has three other power plants in Mindanao located in Iligan City and Sarangani Province.
The partnership between Diaz and Alsons seeks to discover and empower world-class Filipino youth weightlifters who could boost the country’s efforts to win its first gold in the Olympics.
“Rosegie and Jane show that our young people have the potential to win in international competitions specially if they are encouraged and supported in their sport. We share in the pride and hope that their parents feel at this opportunity to bring honor to our country,” said Alsons Power Group executive vice president and CEO Tirso G. Santillan
“We remain fully committed in helping not just Rosegie and Jane achieve their hopes and dreams, but the other Alsons Power-Hidilyn Diaz scholars as well. It has always been our mission to provide opportunities for the young people of Mindanao through our programs, and we will continue to do this,” he added.