LONDON Olympian Daniel Caluag ruled the men’s BMX finals, beating his brother Christopher for the gold in the 2013 Southeast Asian Games on Thursday at the Mount Pleasant cycling field in Nay Pyi Taw.
The 24-year-old Caluag became the country’s 22nd gold medalist in the Games as he covered the 350-meter track in 31.994 seconds to win the race against his older brother Christopher Caluag, who submitted a time of 32.555.
Gusti Bagus Saputra of Indonesia took the bronze medal with a 32.825 clocking.
Caluag, the only Asian who qualified for the London Games, was in control right from the start, topping all four qualifying stages in the motocross and individual categories.
"It was such an easy race. I had a fantastic performance," said the 26-year-old Chino, California-based rider who is seeing action in the SEA Games for the first time. "I was in control all the way. This is only a Southeast Asian level and I didn't have a hard time competing.
"The ultimate goal is to make it back to the Olympics. But, of course, there are some minor bumps along the way like the SEA Games and the Asian Games next year. My mission is to overcome all those tournaments and be stronger, more prepared for 2016."
The son of a respiratory therapist from Bulacan, Caluag was dominant in the final round, even waiting for his brother to come close while executing a wheelie down the stretch, much to the delight of the small Filipino crowd led by Philippine chief of mission Jeff Tamayo.
He said he waited for his brother in a bid to come up with a rare double-gold-medal finish for Team Philippines.
But the Indonesian rider suddenly emerged, forcing him to leave Christoper and ensure the gold.
"Having a 1-2 finish is just as good as winning two gold medals. My brother and I have been working hard in the States for tournaments like this. Our goal is to get better every day," he said.
"We'll be back in the Asian Games next year. Hopefully, win another gold and silver medal again for the Philippines."