Filipino bobsled team takes first crack at big-time meet; eyes 2022 Winter Games
Plunging into action for the the first time, the Philippine bobsled team got a look at the powerhouses it would be up against in its long-term bid to crash the Winter Olympics in 2022.
Bobsled pilot Rolando Isidro and brakeman Jeffrey de la Cruz, both enlisted personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard, made their international debut as one of the Asian guest racers in the 2018 Europa Cup on Friday at Olympia Eiskanal in Igls, Tirol, in Austria.
“One of our most important accomplishments is that we have proven we can do this,” said Thelmo Cunanan Jr., president of the recently formed Philippine National Bobsled, Luge and Skeleton Association, Inc. (PNBLSA).
“Although our times were behind those of the stronger European teams, the fact that we’re here and we’re able to participate in this difficult sport is a huge and historic accomplishment in itself. We are the first bobsled team from Southeast Asia.”
Cunanan said the Filipino pair, who learned the sport just two months ago, got off to a rocky start in the two-man bobsled division. Although a minor crash near the end of the 1.2-kilometer course slowed them down, the team rallied to finish slightly behind fellow Asian team Japan.
The Philippine team was a guest participant of OlympiaWorld Innsbruck, which had offered to train Filipinos in the sport as well as provide technical assistance and equipment.
Germany dominated the event by sweeping the two-man and two-woman divisions, while 2014 Olympic bobsled champion Russia, Austria, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Serbia, Romania and the United States also competed.
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