JUST when everything looked bleak for the country’s campaign and the 17th Asian Games down to its final few days in Incheon, South Korea, BMX rider Daniel Caluag came out of nowhere like the proverbial thief in the night.
Despite not racing in a single event sanctioned by the UCI (Union Cycliste International) last year, Caluag maintained his fine form to provide the Philippines something to cheer about by ruling the men’s BMX race at the Ganghwa Asia BMX Track one sunny day early in October.
The gold medal effort by the 27-year-old registered nurse turned out to be the lone one for the 160-strong Philippine delegation and the least the Filipinos won in the quadrennial meet since the 1998 edition in Bangkok.
It was likewise the first cycling gold for the country in the entire history of the Asiad.
The historic feat, it’s impact, and the heroic effort the Filipino rider did in saving what could have been a disappointing campaign by the country in the region’s biggest sporting conclave were enough to earn for him the Philippine Sportswriters Association’s Athlete of the Year honor.
The Filipino-American BMX racer will lead around 70 prominent sports personalities and entities to be feted during the PSA Annual Awards Night presented by MILO and San Miguel Corp. on Feb. 16 at the 1Esplanade Mall of Asia Complex.
“The entire PSA organization congratulates Daniel Caluag as the recipient of the 2014 Athlete of the Year honor following the exemplary feat he did during the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea,” said PSA president Jun Lomibao of the Business Mirror.
Major awards and citations will also be handed out by the country’s oldest media organization which turns 66 years old this year during the formal rite which counts on Smart, Meralco, and the MVP Sports Foundation as principal sponsors and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) as major sponsor.
Likewise to be named during the affair backed by ICTSI, Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR), Rain or Shine, Globalport, Air21, Maynilad, Accel, and National University are the President’s Award, Executive of the Year, Sports Patron of the Year, National Sports Association of the Year, the Tony Siddayao Awards for outstanding athletes aged 17 and below, Posthumous, and the MILO Outstanding Athletes (boys and girls).
Already included in the year’s honor roll list are the 1973 Philippine men’s basketball team (Lifetime Achievement Award), Tim Cone (Excellence in Basketball), Hall of Fame (Mitsubishi), Alyssa Valdez (Ms. Volleyball), Jean Pierre Sabido (Mr. Taekwondo), and Princess Superal and Tony Lascuna (Golfers of the Year).