There may be no winter in the Philippines but a Pinoy athlete managed to move excellently on ice.
For the first time, a Filipino figure skater will compete for the Winter Olympics after finishing among the top in recent qualifying games.
Michael Christian Martinez placed 7th place in the Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany September 28, securing a ticket to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.
The 16-year-old, who was born and raised in Muntinlupa, will break 22 years of Philippine absence from the Winter Olympics.
The last Filipino athlete to compete in the Winter Olympics was skier Michael Teruel, who joined the 1992 games in France.
In 2010, snowboarder Eden Serina did not make the final cut for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Martinez began figure skating in 2005 after he discovered the sport in a shopping mall ice rink, his biography in the International Skating Union said.
He first joined a skating competition in 2008 and was the first Filipino skater to perform a triple Axel in a competition, the biography said further.
The young Pinoy looks up to 2011 World Champion Patrick Chan of Canada. He also trains with Ilia Kulik, who won in the 1998 Olympics for Russia.
Martinez trains two months a year in the U.S., his biography said. He is joined by his mother, who is part of his coaching team.
The teenage Pinoy bagged a score of 194.08 points in the Nelhorn Trophy 2013, landing 7th in the men’s skating category.
Japan’s Nobunari Oda took home the gold medal for the event, followed by American Jason Brown and Canadian Jeremy Ten.
Other male skaters who made it to the Winter Olympics were athletes from Russia, Israel, Romania, Australia, Ukraine and Italy.
Aside from Martinez, another Filipino participated in the Nelhorn trophy in Germany. Alisson Krystle Perticheto placed 18th in the ladies’ category.