Third time's a charm, so they say.
Nestor Colonia finally won a medal in the Southeast Asian Games -- his third stint overall -- after finishing third in the weightlifting men's 67kg event on Tuesday at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
Colonia lifted a total of 287kg, 127kg in snatch and 160kg in clean and jerk, to claim the bronze. The gold was won by Deni Deni of Indonesia (315kg), while Vietnam's Xuan Dinh (308kg) copped the silver.
Colonia, one of the 13 athletes who represented the Philippines in the 2016 Rio Olympics, had suffered injuries to both knees over the past years. When he recovered, he had to move up in weight -- from 56kg to 67kg, to avoid putting too much stress on his knees.
"I hard a tough time coming back [from the injury], but this performance was for our officials. [Because] some were saying that my time as an athlete is up," he said.
Colonia came back strong, indeed, winning a SEA Games medal in his home country. He proved to the world his career as a weightlifter is far from over.
"I'm happy because I finally won a medal again after two years. I've never won a medal here in the SEA Games, so this is close to my heart," he said. "It's hard to win gold because my opponents here are top 6 in the world. My only target was to lift a total of 300kg."
His other target? To qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
"Today I showed everyone that I can still compete. I still want to qualify for the Olympics."
Earlier in the day, Nestor's cousin, Margaret Colonia, lifted a total of 189kg, 82kg in the snatch and 107kg in the clean and jerk, to win the silver medal in the women's 59kg event.
Thi Duyen Hoang of Vietnam bagged the gold after lifting a total of 210kg, while Indonesian weightlifter Andriani Putri, who lifted a total of 177kg, settled for bronze.
Margaret, who is a first time SEA Games participant, admitted she was relieved to come out with a medal.
"It was all worth it. Because I've been through a lot. There are a lot of people who have been saying that I don't belong on the national team," she said. "But I want to improve more. My coaches told me before the competition to prove to everyone that this is my category."
Her cousin, Nestor, believes there's more in store for her if she keeps progressing.
"Congratulations to her, because it's her first time," said Nestor. "She should continue to train more, because I know she can still get stronger."
Meanwhile in the women's 64kg event, Elreen Ann Ando claimed the silver medal after lifting a total of 213kg -- 98kg in the snatch and 115kg in the clean and jerk.
The three victories came a day after Hidilyn Diaz won her first Southeast Asian Games gold on Monday.