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Martinez scrounging for funds for Winter Olympics

/ 04:01 AM April 12, 2021

Michael Christian Martinez, the Filipino figure skater best remembered for being the first Southeast Asian to make the Winter Olympic Games in 2014, is back at it.

Now 24, Martinez has come out of his shell and is busy preparing to qualify for the next Winter Games, to be held next year in Beijing, China, on Feb. 4.

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To aid his bid, Martinez’s camp has put together a fundraiser for his expenses while training in the United States.

“[Michael] never wavers despite the risks of the virus. But because of [the] health crisis, it has been difficult to find sponsors to help him in his journey,” according to the online drive, which was organized by Martinez’s pal Geoffried Viz. The monthly cost of Martinez’s training is pegged at around $16,000 (P776,800), which covers the coach’s fee, venue rent, accommodation, meals, medical expenses and supplies.

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Martinez is currently being mentored by Nikolai Morozov of Russia, who has produced Olympic gold medalists and world champions in the past. “No tropical nation has ever won a Winter Olympic medal, and for all intents and purposes, Michael is vying to be the first. Nonetheless, his participation in this event is more than just becoming a champion, as it is also about generating more awareness about the sport and his motherland,” the fundraiser read.

Nikki Cheng, president of the Philippine Skating Union, has yet to respond to the Inquirer’s request for comment as of press time.

Martinez, a Muntinlupa city native, bagged the gold medal in the Asian Open Figure Skating Trophy back in 2015. He went on to tab silver during the 2017 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. He saw action in the Pyeongchang Winter Games the next year before taking a break from the sport. That layoff dragged on when Martinez begged off from competing in the 2019 SEA Games here in Manila.

Martinez’s camp hopes to raise at least $50,000 or roughly P2.5 million. Eight individuals have since donated to the fundraiser created late last March.

“We are humbly approaching you to help Michael in his journey,” they said. INQ

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TAGS: Michael Christian Martinez, PH Tokyo 2020, Winter Olympic Games
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