Eyebrows were raised when Michael Christian Martinez, the first Southeast Asian figure skater to grace the Olympics, wasn’t a part of the Philippine men’s national ice skating team competing in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
According to Philippine Skating Union president Josie Veguillas, Martinez, a silver medalist in the 2017 edition of the biennial regional meet, opted to take some time off the competitive field and focus on resting.
“Gusto niyang magpahinga. ‘Yun ang sinabi niya sa amin,” Veguillas revealed in an interview moments after the curtain-raising event of ice skating at the SM Megamall.
“Ininvite naman namin siyang mag-try out sa Nationals kasi ‘yan ang qualification. Eh hindi siya nag-try out.”
Veguillas, though, is confident that the Philippines’ medal hopes on the ice are still in safe hands despite the absence of Martinez.
The country still has promising talents in Christopher Caluza and Edrian Paul Celestino, both of whom have managed to barge in the top three of the men’s short program despite being first timers in the multi-nation event.
“Itong dalawa, nag-try out. Talagang maganda ang performance nila. Talagang pinakita nila na kaya nila,” Veguillas said. “Gumagaling sila eh. Ginagalingan nila, pinag-praktisan nila at kaya nila.
“Give them more time. Bago lang sila eh. Nag-start pa lang. Kaya ‘yan,” she continued.
“We just have to be fair. ‘Di na lang basta porket champion ka two years ago, champion ka pa rin ngayon. Kung ‘di ka nagpa-practice, anong mangyayari, ‘di ba? ‘Yung iba diyan na maski bago lang sila, nagpa-practice sila, so aabutan ka nila.”
For their respective parts, Caluza and Celestino believe that dwelling on the past bears little to no impact in the present.
“You know, the past is the past, and I’m with the future. This is the future. And the thing is that past results are never relevant. It’s always us that create the results for ourselves,” said Celestino, who ended at third with 61.52 points in the short program.
Caluza, who finished second with 62.37 points, behind SEA Games’ 2017 gold medalist Julian Zhi-Jie Yee of Malaysia, then chimed in saying, “The results of the past aren’t important for this current competition because this is the current. This is the present, and we’re just trying to write our own history.”