PhilCycling has offered an early bid to host the Asian BMX Championships again in 2025, as a prelude to its bigger target of the Philippines becoming the first Asian country to host an International Cycling Union (UCI) BMX World Cup in the same year.
Cycling head and Philippine Olympic Committee president, Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, made the offer to Asian Cycling Confederation (ACC) secretary-general Onkar Singh and UCI management committee member Datuk Amarjit Singh of Malaysia on the final day of the 2023 Asian BMX Championships for Freestyle and Racing at the Tagaytay City BMX Park on Sunday.
“With the success of this year’s Asian BMX championships, Tagaytay City is declaring its bid not only for the continental championships but also for the UCI World Cup in 2025,” said Tolentino, who is also the mayor of Tagaytay City.
More than 200 athletes and officials from nine Asian countries—including riders as young as 9 years old who competed in the Challenge events—converged for the three-day championships that was the last qualifier for the cycling discipline for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
For the country to host the World Cup, Tolentino said the current BMX track has to be modified.
“Innovations on the current BMX track would be implemented, especially in raising the start ramp from its present 5-meter height to the world championships and World Cup standard of 8 meters,” he said.
Plans to build a V-shaped start ramp—5 meters and 8 meters—would be implemented soon, he said.
“But hosting the Asian championships and the World Cup would have to be in the first five months of the year when the rains—and the Tagaytay fog—are scant,” he said.
The ACC and UCI officials—as well as foreign commissaires—were all praises for the track and the organization of the championships and agreed in principle to Tolentino’s proposal for 2025.
Onkar Singh said he expects more Asian countries to take part in 2025 as he witnessed first-hand the high standard of the track as well as the efficiency of the local organizing committee.
A UCI World Cup of BMX attracts no fewer than male and female riders from no fewer than 40 countries.
Breaks go against Caluag, Coo bid
Over the weekend, misfortunes struck Daniel Caluag and Patrick Coo as Thailand and Japan took the elite category gold medals and, more importantly, berths to the Paris 2024 Olympics.
The London 2012 Olympian managed to get his desired speed and rhythm at the tabletop but couldn’t get into the final of the championships, calendared by both the International Cycling Union (UCI) and Asian Cycling Confederation and hosted by the PhilCycling and Tagaytay City, led by Philippine Olympic Committee president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino.
“Breaks of the game,” said Caluag, 36, who has never ceased to train in the US while juggling his profession as a Registered Nurse—he’s completing his Nursing Administration Masters—and dad to his two daughters and husband to former BMX racer Stephanie, who’s also a nurse in the US.
Coo, a former Asian junior champion, made the final and was in contention to break upfront until he was caught in a tight bind also on the tabletop.
He was unable to squeeze into the front, and in the process lost his left foot on the pedal and was left behind by the eight-rider final to finish last behind gold medalist Komet Sukpraser.
Sukpraser and women’s elite winner Sae Hatakeyama of Japan earned automatic qualification to the Paris Olympics from the championships witnessed by ACC secretary-general Onkar Singh of India and UCI management committee member Datuk Amarjit Singh of Malaysia.
Tagaytay City’s hosting of the championships earned praise from both UCI and ACC officials that inspired Tolentino to seek hosting major international competitions in the future.
“It was near perfect,” said Tolentino of the championships. “Near because we missed out on outright qualification for Paris. Breaks indeed.”
Indonesia’s Rio Akbar and Fasya Ahsana Rifki completed the men’s elite podium, while Wanyl Liao of China and Kanami Tanno of Japan finished second and third, respectively, in the women’s elite race.
Also winning on Sunday were Indonesia’s Shifa Maulidina Qotron Nada (women) and Japan’s Hyoga Kiuchi (men) in the junior race, and Japan’s Neneka Nishimura (women) and Adiya Fajar Putu Soekarno (men) in the under-23 category.
Meanwhile, Moto Sasaki won wearing the world champion’s rainbow colors as Japanese riders swept the freestyle competitions of the Asian Cycling Confederation (ACC) BMX Championships.
China’s Yawn Deng scored 82 points to rule the women’s park, also of freestyle that was almost canceled because of rain and fog that swept through the world-famous tourist and sports destination almost all day long Friday and Saturday.