Michael Martinez seeks podium finish in 2018 Games
MANILA, Philippines — After a historic stint in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Filipino skating star Michael Christian Martinez targets a podium finish in the Games’ 2018 edition in PyeongChang, South Korea.
“For 2018, realistically he can get at least a bronze,” Martinez’s mom, Teresa, said of his 17-year-old son.
“He can do it. For this Olympics, our target was to qualify in the medal round. He was able to do that and ended up 19th.
Actually, he’s capable of getting an even higher score, he just lacked sleep that night.”
Martinez, the first Southeast Asian figure skater to compete in the Olympics, returned to the country last Sunday for a brief visit before heading for Sofia, Bulgaria, to compete in the World Junior Figure Skating Championships from March 10 to 16.
“I just want to qualify and compete again in the 2018 Olympics and hopefully get a medal,” said Martinez, the first Filipino in 22 years to compete in the Winter Olympics.
Ranked 30th, Martinez finished 19th in the short program to land a spot in the free skate finals, where only the top 24 out of the 30 competitors qualified.
The 5-foot-8 Martinez wound up 19th overall with a total score of 184.25. Japan’ s Yuzuru Hanyu bagged the gold.
“Aside from financial support, he also needs emotional and moral support, which is very important,” said Teresa, who served as Martinez’s coach in his early years and admitted to the financial challenges the family faced in their journey to the Olympics.
Teresa said Martinez, the youngest of three children, also “never met his father.”
Support, though, started pouring in since Martinez gained international attention as the youngest skater in the Olympic men’s event who trained in a mall ice rink and grew up in a country that knows no winter.
Martinez received $10,000 (about P450,000) each from the Manny V. Pangilinan Sports Foundation and SM Foundation.
A resident of Muntinlupa City, Martinez also received P100,000 from the city yesterday in a courtesy call to Mayor Jaime Fresnedi.
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