3 figure skaters from Pinoy vying for a place in the Olympic qualifiers
Three figure skaters are vying for the right to represent the Philippines at the Nebelhorn Trophy, the final qualifying event for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, China.
The Philippine Skating Union has announced that Michael Martinez, Christopher Caluza and Edrian Celestino will be evaluated to determine who will secure the country’s only place at Nebelhorn, to be held in Oberstdorf, Germany, September 22-25.
In a Facebook post, the PhSU said it will host an Olympic qualifying assessment this month. A similar event will also be organized for the ladies.
Seven Olympic places are up for grabs at Nebelhorn, with 23 places already confirmed at the 2021 World Championships.
Michael Martinez aims for third Olympic appearance
Martinez, 24, is already a veteran of two Winter Games. He qualified for the free skate on his debut at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and finished 28th in the short program at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
He is the first figure skater from Southeast Asia to qualify for the Winter Olympics and also competed in the 2012 Winter Youth Olympics.
Martinez took a hiatus from the 2018 Olympics, but he is a proven skater with three world championship appearances from 2015 to 2017, two gold at the Triglav Trophy and one gold at the Asian Open.
He was national champion in 2017 and also won the silver medal at the Southeast Asian Games in the same year.
In March, Martinez set up a crowdfunding campaign for his trip to the 2022 Winter Games. In an interview with GMA News Online, the two-time Olympian said the crowdfunding should help him raise funds. for training expenses.
“I really hope I get chosen to represent our country at the Nebelhorn Trophy,” said Martinez. “Right now my goal is to do my best in training, to be better and to have a great performance and results in my next competitions.”
A last hurray for Christopher Caluza
Caluza, 31, is a three-time national champion and also played three world championships from 2012 to 2014. He won the gold medal at the 2019 EduSport Trophy and the silver medal at the 2019 SEA Games.
He previously competed at the United States National Championships in 2011, but began representing the Philippines a year later. He is a veteran of the Four Continents Championships, the International Skating Union (ISU) Challenger Series and several international competitions.
Caluza quit competing after the 2014 season, but returned to the ice in 2018. Earlier this year, he launched a crowdfunding campaign to help fund his preparation for Olympic qualifiers.
In an Instagram post in February, he said it was likely his last season in competitive skating – a last chance to pursue his childhood dream of skating on Olympic ice.
“To be honest I’m tired – like physically, financially, mentally – but wanted to do it one more time because last year, even though we didn’t compete, I felt well rested,” said Caluza at GMA News Online. “I hope we all do a good job this year because it’s a good year to come back from a crazy year.”
Edrian Celestino pursues the Olympic dream
Celestino, 23, is the reigning national champion after winning the title in 2018. He competed in three ISU Challenger Series tournaments in the same season and finished the year with a fourth place at the SEA Games.
He represented Canada in international competitions until 2018, but changed federations and began carrying the Philippine flag in 2019.
“When I used to skate for Canada before I made the switch, I just thought I would be, I guess, stuck at that level,” he said in an interview with some media. “So have the chance to represent the Philippines and maybe go there potentially [to the Olympics] is less of a dream, more of an ambition or more of a goal that I’m working towards. “
Celestino and Caluza appeared in the Four Continents Championships in 2020, but other tournaments have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
—MGP, GMA News