Martinez qualifies for Men's Finals of figure skating world championships
ABS-CBN News on Mar 31, 2017 10:59 AM
Photo courtesy of Antti Lehto. ISU World Figure Skating Championships Helsinki 2017
Michael Christian Martinez kept the hopes alive for Filipinos when he clinched the 24th and last spot to qualify for the Men’s Finals in the 2017 International Skating Union (ISU) World Figure Skating Championships currently being held in Helsinki, Finland.
The 20-year old Martinez garnered a total segment score of 69.32 following the men's short program to put him in the Finals with three other Asian contestants from Japan, China and Malaysia out of 36 competitors. Spain’s Javier Fernandez, the two-time defending champion, clinched the top spot with a score of 109.05.
The top 24 competitors will next perform in the men's free skating event.
Martinez, who is the first skater from Southeast Asia to qualify for the Winter Olympics and the only athlete to represent the Philippines at the 2014 Winter Olympics, is also trying to qualify for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
Although the competition is mostly unnoticed in the Filipino community in Finland, Roderick and Jessica Paed, who were originally from Bataan, watched togther with their one-year old son Louis Angelo. Jessica works in the service maintenance department of the competition venue, Hartwell Arena.
“When we learned there is a Filipino competitor, I immediately looked at the program to see the schedule and bought a ticket. Good thing it was our day off!”, she excitedly told ABS-CBN Europe.
The Paed couple also promised to watch the Free Skating event in the weekend with a bigger Filipino group even if the tickets for the event are already almost sold out.
Jason Sinocruz, 32 who is from California USA came to Finland to watch the competition.
“I have been watching figure skating for a long time. Michael, I am impressed with your spin, musicality. Very rare to see a Filipino skater from the Philippines because we are a hot country. I came all the way from California to watch the competition to support him,” Sinocruz said.
The Opening Ceremony of the World Figure Skating Championship 2017 saw skaters, ballet dancers, and some acrobatics with live music. Finland’s capital, Helsinski plays hosts to the international skating event from 29th March to 2nd of April, 2017.
The International Skating Union (ISU), international governing body for competitive ice skating disciplines will be awarding a global prize money of US $686,750 at the World Championships to top skaters in the Mens, Ladies, and Pairs.
Special report from Sheila Riikonen, ABS-CBN Europe