Crack Fil-Am BMX duo seek London slots
A PAIR of accomplished BMX riders will gun for berths in the 2012 London Olympics through the UCI BMX World Championship next month in Britain.
Filipino-American cyclists Daniel Caluag, a four-time BMX No.1 pro in the United States, and Alexis Vergara, once ranked ninth in the US Elite Pro Tour, are bidding to add to the meager number of Filipino athletes already assured of slots in London during the Olympic qualifier in Birmingham on May 24 to 27.
Caluag and Vergara are in the homestretch of their hunt for an Olympic spot after accumulating UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) qualifying points in the Asian BMX Championship in Hong Kong last month and the 2012 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup recently in Chula Vista, California.
Smart-PhilCycling president and Tagaytay City Mayor Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said his federation would foot the bill of US$2,500 each for Caluag and Vergara’s stint in the world championship.
“They are the country’s strongest bets to win a medal in the Olympics should they qualify in London,” said Tolentino.
The Summer Games, scheduled July 27 to Aug. 10, will feature BMX events for men and women with Tolentino pinning his hopes on the 25-year-old Caluag.
Caluag, the first BMX pro to capture the AA pro and pro cruiser titles in the US in the same year (2007), and Vergara have been cleared by the UCI, the US Olympic Committee and USA Cycling to don the Philippine colors.
They were barred from competing in last November’s Southeast Asian Games for holding UCI licenses from the Philippines and US.
“Considering the fact that Caluag made his choice (of citizenship) in September 2011, the UCI accepts, without prejudice, that the regime prior to October 1, 2011 may be applied to his situation so that he will be considered as being PHI under UCI rules,” said UCI jurist Amina Lanaya, in a letter sent to Tolentino.
Tolentino lamented that both riders were in the entry list on the eve of their SEA Games events but were still disqualified apparently because they were gold-medal threats.
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