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Skaters aim for Winter Olympics qualifier

By Izah Morales
INQUIRER.net



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MANILA, Philippines - For a tropical country like the Philippines, joining the Winter Olympics has been a long time dream but Engineer Eric Camaligan believes the country is is just a step a way in making that dream a reality.

Eleven female and two male skaters in the senior?s division will vie for the title in the 2009 Philippine Figure Skating Championships this weekend at the SM Mall of Asia.

The champions will get the chance to represent the Philippines in the 2009 Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany this September. The Nebelhorn Trophy serves as the last qualifying round for next year's Vancouver Winter Olympics.

?We?re hoping and praying that from there (Germany), one of the skaters can represent the Philippines in the Winter Olympic Series,? said Camaligan, president of the Philippine Skating Union.

?Let?s continue dreaming for the (Winter) Olympics,? he added.

Skaters from different age groups will perform a short interpretive program on Saturday and a free skating program on Sunday.

For the interpretive program, senior skaters need to show good extension, flexibility, good height, crisp movements for good posture, and flying spin with a minimum of eight revolutions in two minutes and 50 seconds, said Najia Bracey, one of the judges from the International Skating Union.

Joining her are other judges came from California, Japan, and Taiwan. ISU, founded in 1892, is the oldest governing international winter sport federation.

?A good skater is someone who makes it looks easy and effortless. Skating is a very difficult sport with all the spins and the jumps,? added Bracey, who hails from Washington D.C.

Bracey sees a lot of potential in Filipino skaters.

?They?re pioneers so it will be their driving motivation to make a statement in the international skating scene,? said Bracey.

Among the eleven senior skaters, Clarisse Roman is the only Filipina who was born and raised here in the country while the ten other participants are Filipino-Americans from Connecticut, California, New Jersey, and Arizona in the United States.

?I'm proud to be one of the qualifiers. If I win, it's an achievement for someone like me who grew up and trained hard here in the Philippines," said Roman, a 19 year-old Psychology student of Manila Doctors College.

Roman represented the country in the 2007 Asian Winter Games and is the Grand Prix champ in the junior category.

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