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Michael Martinez, 2 others vie for berth in 2022 Winter Olympic qualifiers

· Philippine Sports

Press release from Philippine Skating Union

With the ongoing 2020 Tokyo Olympics, preparations for next year’s Winter Olympics are well underway for Philippine skating - beginning with the process of choosing the Philippine representatives for the ISU-Challenger series Nebelhorn Trophy 2021.

This is a very critical time for the figure skating athletes of the Philippines, as the said competition will determine the fate of the country in securing a slot for the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics to be held in Beijing, China.

Through the Philippine Skating Union Olympic Qualifier Evaluation, three male athletes will vie for a seat in their category, showcasing their short and free-skate programs.

Joining the male category are three dynamic but impressive elite athletes.

Widely considered by local experts as the dark horse in men’s figure skating, reigning Philippine National Champion Edrian Paul Celestino has been creating strides in the local and international scene of the sport. The 23-year-old is also the youngest in the brood of hopefuls.

On the other hand, lone SEA Games 2019 figure skating medalist and former World Championships PH representative Christopher Caluza will also be stepping forward to contend for the prestigious quadrennial event.

Apart from skating competitively, he is also a world-class performer for ice shows, touring globally.

Last but not the least is Michael Christian Martinez, the first and only figure skater from the Philippines to make it to the Winter Olympics thus far. Born and raised in Muntinlupa, Martinez has been training to make a major comeback in the sport after his last stint at Pyeongchang in 2018.

The selection process is divided into two parts. The first step is the Philippine Skating Union: Olympic Qualifier Evaluation, which is an unedited footage of short and free-skate programs that have been previewed virtually for assessment by international judges. 

The said event can be streamed virtually through IGTV, YouTube, Vimeo and DailyMotion on Friday, August 6, 2021 at 7:00 PM, Philippine Standard Time.

The scores will then be combined with an in-person event where the three athletes will individually partake in one international event each.

The athletes’ performances are evaluated through the ISU’s point-based system by ISU-accredited judges. The skater that scores the highest points from both events will be chosen to compete at the Nebelhorn Trophy, and be given the chance to compete for a spot for the Winter Olympics.

The Philippine Skating Union remains hopeful that the country will be able to send a male representative for figure skating to the Olympics for the third time, the first being in 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

The same process will also apply for the selection of the female elite athletes who will also be given the chance to vie for a spot in the 2022 Winter Olympics, where the federation is currently in talks to add to its female roster.

Established by the Ice Skating Union (ISU), the Nebelhorn Trophy, to be held at Oberstdorf, Germany from September 22-25, is deemed an Olympic qualifier event where only seven slots for the Olympics can be attained. Only one male and one female candidate can be represented from the Philippines for this event.

Senior-level athletes are given the chance to demonstrate their artistry, skills and mastery of the sport that can also allow them to earn World Standing Points.

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