Asian Games BMX bet Caluag explains absence from UC races
INCHEON, South Korea—There has been a lot of fuss surrounding the “disappearance” of Daniel Caluag, who stopped joining UCI-sanctioned races after winning the gold in the BMX event of cycling in last year’s Southeast Asian Games.
“I wanted to finish my studies,” Caluag said, adding that he hadn’t completely stayed away from the game.
“I just didn’t compete in UCI-sanctioned races but I joined races in the US,” said the 27-year-old rider. “Competition is high in the US and a lot of champion riders compete there.”
Caluag and brother CJ will try to toss in medals into the Philippine campaign in the 17th Asian Games here, with both setting sights on gold.
Daniel has a bonus inspiration going into the BMX competition. His wife, Stephanie, gave birth to a baby girl, Sydney Isabella, last week.
“It was hard having to leave right away but I told myself I’ll be riding for her and for the Filipino people,” said Daniel. “I can’t wait to go back, hold her and tell her about what I did here and bring her to the Philippines one day.”
CJ’s added inspiration will also be family.
With his brother within earshot during the interview, he said: “I feel like I can beat a lot of guys here. I feel like I can even beat my brother.”
Daniel, fixing his bike, looked back and smiled.
The brothers have been exuding a lot of optimism, showing no signs of nerves as they try to live up to their pre-Games hype; top sports officials have said the two were medal favorites here.
And Daniel hopes to prove that his absence from UCI races didn’t harm his chances.
“Strategy natin yun,” joked PhilCycling president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino. “Para hindi masyado masundan ang riders natin.”
(That’s our strategy. So that our riders won’t be followed that much.)
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