Olympian Elreen Ando Proves the Ceiling Can Be Lifted Higher

Olympic Weightlifter Elreen Ando Proves the Ceiling Can Be Lifted Higher

UNIQLO shirt, OMEGA watch. Photographed by Mark Nicdao for the July 2024 Issue of Vogue Philippines.

Backed by her community, Elreen Ando ventures out onto the global stage for the Paris Summer Games, aiming to take pride home to the country.

Upon securing her Paris Olympics berth, 25-year-old Elreen Ando said that all her training paid off. She remembered the sacrifices she’s made and the confidence she’s built in herself through her experiences.

Any athlete at her level is familiar with the gamble of sacrifice and success. To come out as one of the best, and an Olympic qualifier at that, an athlete must learn to set aside things to focus on producing results. This is a sacrifice that some might not be willing to make in their lives, which is why successes like Ando’s are even more meaningful.

What eases an athlete’s gamble is the support they receive from a community that believes in their skill. When Ando was 22, she was discovered by a weightlifting coach who believed in her potential. Eventually, a collegiate scholarship from the University of Cebu helped ease her competitive weightlifting journey.

During the Olympic qualifier, Ando was ranked lower than Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo, who belongs to the same weight class. However, Ando’s combined lift of 224kg put her on top.

A country may only send one athlete per weight class to the Olympic Games—which meant that Ando booked a ticket to Paris in lieu of Diaz-Naranjo, who was nothing but supportive of her fellow teammate’s success. In an interview, Ando said Diaz hugged and greeted her after she became the official Philippine bet to the Olympics.

Ando surpassing Diaz-Naranjo proves that the Philippine team’s ceiling is higher than we all thought. And Diaz-Naranjo’s support for the national weightlifting team bolsters the confidence the athletes have to give it their all. As the Paris Olympics closes in, Ando is as eager as ever to bring pride home to the country.

This month, Vogue Philippines pays tribute to stories of grit, determination, and the pursuit of excellence. Below, meet more of the athletes who continue to shatter the glass ceiling of sports.


Vogue Philippines: July 2024 Issue

By BIANCA CUSTODIO, NANA CARAGAY, PATRICIA VILLORIA Photographs by MARK NICDAO Beauty Editor JOYCE OREÑA Fashion Director PAM QUIÑONES. Stylists: David Milan, Steven Coralde of Qurator Studio. Makeup: Angeline dela Cruz, Bea Mocorro, Janica Cleto, and Japeth Purog of Estée Lauder Philippines, Nadynne Esguerra. Hair: JA Feliciano and Kyle Velasco, Jessica Riva and Noel Muncada of Toni&Guy Philippines, Mong Amado. Art Director: Jann Pascua. Producer: Anz Hizon. Bookings Associate: Bianca Zaragoza. Beauty Writer: Bianca Custodio. Nails: Extraordinail. Photographer’s Assistants: Arsan Sulser Hofileña, Crisaldo Soco, John Phillip Nicdao, Villie James Bautista. Stylist’s Assistants: Geno Karlo, Kyla Uy, Ticia Almazan. Shot on location at Balay Kobo and Vogue Studios.
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