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    Michael Martinez eyeing gold when figure skating makes SEA Games debut in 2017

    Jun 25, 2015
    Michael Martinez gave invited members of the media a glimpse of his current five-minute program performed to the tune of Romeo and Juliet at the SM Skating Rink in Megamall. Leif Sykioco

    THE Philippines has a chance to assert its regional dominance in figure skating after Olympian Michael Martinez committed to compete in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games to be held in Kuala Lumpur.

    “Aside from the international tournaments lined up next year, I will also be competing in the 2016 National Championships. If I make it through, it would be an honor to represent the Philippines in the 2017 SEA Games, in hopes to win the gold medal for our country”, said Martinez, the first skater from Southeast Asia and from a country in the tropical zone to qualify for the Olympics.

    Figure skating and ice hockey will make their debut in the SEA Games in Malaysia.

    Fresh from his second straight gold medal performance at the international Triglav Trophy in Slovenia, Martinez said he had been honing his skills by practicing six hours, six times a week on the ice and perfecting the technical elements of his jumps, glides, and spins under the supervision of his Russian, British, and American coaches.

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    He also inserts an hour each day for off-ice strength training, and another hour for choreography and dance.

    The teenaged phenom from Muntinlupa City arrived in the country last Sunday for a 10-day break before returning to the US to continue his overseas training that takes up roughly 10 months in a year.

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    Michael’s mother Teresa, said competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea is still her son’s ultimate goal, with giant mall chain SM again sponsoring and defraying the considerable amount being spent for Martinez’ training.

    When asked whether government has provided assistance to the Michael’s effort, the elder Martinez said the last time they received financial assistance was the per diem allowance given them during the Sochi Games.

    The 18-year old figure skating star gave invited members of the media a glimpse of his current five-minute program performed to the tune of Romeo and Juliet at the SM Skating Rink in Megamall.

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    Martinez graciously allowed selfies and signed autographs for the crowd at hand after his routine, while members of his fans' club gave his mother a bouquet of flowers in honor of her approaching birthday.

    The next seven months will be challenging ones for the Filipino skater who will compete in seven tournaments in the US, Asia and Europe in order to hike his world ranking which is currently at 33rd after a high of 29th.

    Michael's schedule is as follows:

    July 10-12, 2015

    Los Angeles Open Championship

    California, USA

    July 23-25, 2015

    Skate Detroit

    Michigan, USA

    August 5-8, 2015

    Asian Trophy

    Bangkok, Thailand

    September 16-29, 2015

    USA Classic

    Utah, USA

    October 8-11, 2015

    Filandia Trophy

    Espoo, Finland

    November 6-8, 2015

    Grand Prix Cup of China

    Beijing, China

    December 9-12, 2015

    Golden Spring of Zagreb

    Zagreb, Croatia

    Coming from a country outside the usual ice circuits, Teresa said her son has to take part double the average number of tournaments, which increases the chances of injuries.

    “He’s eyeing the next Olympics. Yung injuries nandyan na iyan e. Every skater suffers repetitive injuries. It’s really difficult. They have to jump high, land on one foot on a very thin blade on very slippery ice. Before we returned, one of his training mates suffered an injury and they had to call 911— ang sama ng bagsak niya and naupuan niya yung ankle niya. Ganun ka-risky,” she said.

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    Michael Martinez gave invited members of the media a glimpse of his current five-minute program performed to the tune of Romeo and Juliet at the SM Skating Rink in Megamall. Leif Sykioco
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