Burning leave credits worth it for Franciscos as son strikes gold
TAGAYTAY CITY–Holding up his camera and wearing a big smile, Jericho Francisco Sr. was beaming with pride as son, Kiko, spoke at the press conference following his gold medal win in the Southeast Asian Games skateboarding’s park event last Sunday.
The older Francisco, said his son’s victory was a realization of a dream, not just for Kiko, but for their entire family. Jericho Sr., who migrated to the United States in the 1980s, had introduced skateboarding to Kiko when he was 4 years old and had always hoped that his son would one day represent the country in the sport.
Together with wife Brenda, the Francisco couple took a leave from their respective jobs in California to support their youngest son compete in the country for the SEA Games.
Brenda, who hails from San Carlos, Pangasinan, said it was Kiko’s first time in the Philippines. “I think his winning the SEA Games gold medal here was the perfect time for him to be in the Philippines,” said Brenda, who works in customer service in the United States. “He’s always traveling and competing while we’re also working so we haven’t really had a chance of bringing him here before.”
A day after turning 18, Francisco made his homecoming a memorable one as he ruled the men’s park event in impressive fashion here last Sunday at Tagaytay Skate Park.
He also paid tribute to Jericho Sr., whom he said taught him everything he knows about the sport. “It’s (this win) is really about my dad from teaching me since I was four years old up until now, supporting me when I train and compete,” said Francisco.
Wearing the gold medal around his neck, Kiko said he’s looking forward to the tougher grind of qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Currently ranked No. 33 in the world, Francisco’s position will improve since only three bets are allowed for each country in the Olympics.
Countries like the United States, Brazil and Japan have more than five skaters in the Top 20, which is the qualifying cutoff for the Olympics. INQ
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