CYCLING president and Tagaytay City mayor Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino isn’t losing hope that Daniel Caluag will one day stand on the Olympic podium.
“He will come out stronger and more focused next time around,” said Tolentino, head of PhilCycling, the local association recognized by the Union Cycliste Internationale, the sport’s world governing body.
Tolentino said Caluag, who earned the distinction of becoming the only Asian competitor in the event, will be back to perform in high-caliber races beginning with the Southeast Asian Games next year and the 2014 Asian Games in his buildup for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Caluag missed the semifinals of the men’s BMX competition in London Olympics Thursday night, quashing the Philippine bid to end a long medal drought in the Games.
“He already made us proud when our flag fluttered for two weeks at the BMX track inside the Olympic Park,” said Tolentino.
According to Tolentino, Caluag, a former No. 1 BMX rider in the US, lost his touch after a long lull in training the past few years due to his studies.
The 25-year-old son of Filipino migrants from Bulacan and Nueva Ecija is finishing his BS Nursing degree in the US.
“We’re not in the list of priority sports but we’ll be back,” said Tolentino, noting that cycling was excluded in the 10 focus sports identified by the government.
Despite the discipline’s non-inclusion in the priority list, Caluag was groomed as one of two Pinoy Olympians who could break the jinx in the Olympics.
The last time the Philippines went up the Olympic podium was during the 1996 Atlanta Games when boxer Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco finished with a silver medal.