‘Too short’ BMX rider Caluag stands tall as Athlete of the Year
MANILA, Philippines — Daniel Caluag was once told he was too short to play the sport he loves. But after winning the 2014 Incheon Asian Games gold medal, those same people probably look up to him now.
Caluag, all 5-foot-6 of him, stood the tallest on Monday when he received the Athlete of the Year award, the highest honor given by the Philippine Sportswriters Association, after taking home the country’s lone gold.
“If they wanna do it, anything is possible,” said Caluag when asked if Filipinos would excel in BMX. “Because when they told me I was too short, being one of the shortest in BMX, I’ve had some good success and that hasn’t stopped me to do it.”
The 28-year-old daredevil cited one of his idols, Manny Pacquiao, as one fitting example of someone who started with nothing and has made it to the top.
“Like I said before, anything is achievable and any athlete, any Filipino out there, go out there, go achieve, go after your dreams,” he said. “Because you have people like Manny, who started in small pounds, make it possible to have the dream of being the best that he could be and where he is at now.”
“Many people could relate to Manny Pacquiao and where he’s come from. So that’s just a good example to provide to the Filipino community and the country of Philippines.”
But what drives Caluag most to chase his dreams is his wife Stephanie and daughter Sydney Isabella, who was born just several days before he won the gold.
And more than the golden hardware dangling from his neck, his family is his most prized possession.
“My daughter Sydney Isabella, me and my wife, we couldn’t ask anything much more beautiful than that. It’s all about family. Sports is great but without the support of my family, my wife, I don’t know where I would be today,” said the proud Caluag.