FILIPINO figure skater Michael Martinez took a step closer in his bid to compete in the next Winter Olympics after securing the last slot in the 2017 World Figure Skating Championships finals in Helsinki on Thursday (Friday, Manila time).
The 20-year old Martinez, the first figure skater from Southeast Asia to compete at the Winter Olympics in 2014, garnered a score of 69.32 for 24th place in the short program of the free skate final at Hartwall Arena.
Martinez will attempt to move up the rankings in the men's finals on April 1. The event is a qualifier for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Martinez, who hails from Muntinlupa City, has been active in joining figure skating competitions this year and has recently finished in the Top 10 of the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan. He also became the highest ranking Southeast Asian contender in the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships held in South Korea last February.
The Filipino Olympian’s upcoming performance at the World Figure Skating Championships will determine if he will be able to follow his remarkable inclusion at Sochi, Russia, where he became known as the first Filipino figure skater to compete at the Olympic Winter Games.
“[The Worlds] is very important to me since it’s the qualifying event for the next Olympics. This is where they choose the top 24 to compete in the next Winter Olympics. I’m a little bit nervous to be honest, but I’m really excited because I feel ready. Especially since I had a clean short program in two competitions,” Martinez said.
After the World Championships, Martinez is slated to compete at the 2017 Asian Open Trophy and the SEA Games this August.