Michael Christian Martinez wins Gold in Slovenia

Filipino Winter Olympian Michael Christian Martinez won the gold in the Triglav Trophy Figure Skating Senior Men’s Division in Jesenice, Slovenia on Sunday.

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Photo Credit: Alex Dela Rosa Photography

He scored 63.29 in the Short Program on Friday and 131.84 in Freeskate on Sunday for a total of 195.13.

Japan’s Keiji Tanaka settled for silver for a total of 189.83. Ryuju Hino, also of Japan, came in third with 183.06.

The other skaters were Phillip Harris of Great Britain, June Hyoung Lee of Korea, Mario-Rafael Ionian of Austria and Sondre Oddvoll Boe of Norway.

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As in the 2014 Winter Olympics that concluded recently in Sochi, Russia, Michael was the only entrant from a country that doesn’t have snow or ice.

His skipping of the World Junior Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria slated March 10-16 proved advantageous to the teener as his injuries had enough time to heal.

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Meanwhile, Samantha Cabiles, who performed in the Junior Ladies Division ended 6th overall in a field of 21 with a total score of 100.04. The Filipina teener was 4th in the Short Program.

Topping the division was Elizabet Tursynbayeva of Kazakhstan with 150.68, followed by Ah Hyun Lim of Korea with 120.33 and Alissa Scheidt of Germany with 115.69.

In the Senior Ladies Division, Rika Hongo of Japan won the gold with 153.32 points, followed by Francesca Rio of Italy with 139.36 and Isabelle Olsson of Sweden with 136.62.

There were only four entrants in Junior Men—with Anton Kempf of Germany topping the division with 139.66, followed by Daniel Naurits of France with 132.88; and Marco Zandron and Giorgio Settembrini, both of Italy, with 124.66 and 123.01 respectively.

There’s also Advanced Novice Boys and Advanced Novice Girls Divisions—topped by Arthur Ribes of France with 89.83 points and So Hyun An of Korea with 109.33 points.

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The ISU (International Skating Union) 2013-2014 Season ends on June 30. The 2014-2015 Season begins with the Junior Grand Prix France on August 20-24, 2014 in Courchevel, France.

In his post early Monday (Manila time), the Filipino Olympian said:

“I Thank God for this blessing- another gold medal in senior event. It was actually difficult for all of us because the 30 minutes practice sessions were scheduled a day before, and no more practices during the competition days. I’m very happy i made it to first place.”

He still has to make a decision whether he will compete in Dubai next month.

Congratulations, Michael Christian Martinez, for continuously bringing pride to the Philippines and to all Filipinos around the world!

Mabuhay!

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Not competing in WJC: Enough time to heal, rest and practice for Filipino Winter Olympian Michael Christian Martinez

Skipping the World Junior Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria slated March 10-16, 2014, Michael Christian Martinez has enough time to heal, rest and practice for the skating season in August.

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As reported by Steve Angeles of ABS-CBN North America News Bureau on abs-cbn.com, it is due to doctor’s advice that the newest darling of Philippine sports decided not to compete in the event.

His mother Maria Theresa was quoted as saying, “It’s the doctor’s and the coach’s decision. Michael’s doctor has recommended that he withdraw from the World Junior (Championships) since his knee injury has not completely healed yet, and his falls during his current practices are adding to the injuries.”

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Michael Martinez being interviewed by Steve Angeles

Michael placed 5th in the World Junior Championships last year held in Milan, Italy with 191.64 points. Getting the 1-2-3 spots were USA’s Joshua Farris, Jason Brown and Shotaro Momori. China’s Jin Boyang was fourth. 

Filipino-Swiss Alisson Krystle Perticheto who represented the Philippines in the Ladies Division placed 18th in last year’s WJC.

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Now a superstar in the Philippines, Michael is overwhelmed by the support he is getting, which inspires him to work for a medal in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea.

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“It’s so heartwarming that everybody now acknowledges my talent. Everybody now is supporting me so I’m very thankful for that. I feel very happy, it feels like…feeling ko iiyak ako nang nakita ko ang dami ng suporta sa akin,” he said.

The teener himself reported that out of 2,850 athletes from 89 countries, he was the #1 supported athlete in the Sochi 2014 website.

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“I owe it to all of you my dear friends! I am eternally and sincerely grateful for your continuous support and for all your prayers!!!!! Thank you very much!!” he posted.

Michael, who holds the distinction of the first-ever figure skater from the Philippines and Southeast Asia to have qualified for the Olympics, also got featured in The Best Of Sochi 2014 Olympics video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ka5nMNUSGA.

On February 26, a day before he left for the US for training, the Winter Olympian was commended by the Philippine Senate for the honor he brought to the country.

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Handsomeness among beauties

Senate Resolution 505 sponsored by Sen. Vicente Sotto III commended Michael for his feat.

“To excel on ice, even if the only ice we produce in the country is from refrigerators, is exceptional indeed,” Sotto said on the Senate floor.

Three Binibinis were also commended by the Senate on the same day.

Described by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano as the country’s crown jewels, Miss Supranational 2013 Mutya Johanna Datul, Miss Universe 2013 3rd  Runner-Up Ariella Arida and Miss International 2013 Bea Rose Santiago came with their crowns and posed with the Philippine Olympian.

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Between practices and rest, Michael is taking time to meet his supporters in the US, some of whom have put up organizations or foundations to fund his second Olympic bid in Pyeongchang.

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See related stories https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/michael-martinez-comes-home-a-superstar-from-sochi-prepares-for-world-junior-figure-skating-championships-2014-and-2018-pyeongchang-winter-olympics/ and

https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/michael-christian-martinez-banners-philippines-in-2014-winter-olympics/

Michael Martinez comes home a superstar from Sochi, prepares for World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2014 and 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics

Filipino figure skater Michael Christian Martinez was bestowed the honors fit for a revered Olympian Sunday, with a motorcade around Pasay City and press conference at the SM Mall of Asia.

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The teener who placed 19th overall in Men’s Figure Skating in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia faced the media, his colleagues, supporters and fans fresh from his 30-hour journey from the Games location.

He was given a Lifetime Skating Privilege in all SM Skating Rinks and SM Prime Holdings Inc. president Hans Sy, also the first Philippine Skating Union (PSU) president, handed the athlete a US$10,000 check as bonus for his stellar and historic performance in the Games.

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Sy pledged further for continued and even stronger support for Michael’s bid in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics in Korea.

“He is a shining example to the youth as someone who saw no limits to what he can achieve. He has already inspired millions by following his dream and by competing in the Winter Olympics,” said the SM Prime Holdings president.

Pasay City Mayor Tony Calixto likewise acknowledged Michael’s contribution to Philippine sports by giving him the symbolic key to the city, as MOA, where Michael does his practice, is located in Pasay.

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Business tycoon Manny Pangilinan of TV5, Smart Communications and PLDT pledged a US$10,000 bonus for Michael soon after the figure skating sensation finished his short program routine. TV5 was the exclusive broadcaster of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

In his speech, Michael said that he was sharing the honors to all Filipino Olympians before him.

“I’m not the first to represent the country in the world stage. So please don’t forget other athlete heroes. I share this moment with them,” he told the crowd and the media at MOA.

Although he is the first figure skater from the Philippines and Southeast Asia, the Philippines had entered the Winter Olympics thrice before.

Martinez qualified for the 2014 Winter Olympics when he finished 7th in the Men’s Singles in the 2013 Nebelhorn Trophy held in Oberstdorf, Germany in September last year.

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As to the issue of lack of support from the government, PSU president and Michael’s mentor Mr. Pocholo Veguillas clarified that the Philippine Sports Commission thru the Philippine Olympic Committee actually shouldered the US$7,200 training fund of Michael in Russia. He also said that SM is shouldering their protégé’s expenses as the budget from the national government could be used to fund other athletes’ needs.

And the mortgage issue that somehow became a controversy?

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His mother, Mrs. Maria Theresa Martinez, was supposed to answer a mediaman’s query, but was motioned by Mr. Veguillas and Mr. Sy there was no need for her to say anything about it. It’s actually immaterial, as any parent would do the same to be with her beloved son in his Olympic debut. The support SM had been extending, though, or the government for that matter, is only for the athlete and not his entire family. And that is quite understood.

The good thing is, with Michael’s inspiring performance, bonuses and gratuities are now coming from all directions.

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On Monday, Michael was also honored by the Muntinlupa City government with Mayor Jaime Fresnedi handing him a check of P100,000 bonus in recognition for the pride and honor he brought to the country and the city. Michael also visited the school where he finished elementary and high school.

Later that day he skated at SM Southmall, the place where he started his career nine years ago, to the delight of his fans and mall-goers.

At the Meet & Greet event, the screams and shouts every time he waved, smiled or spoke to the crowd only proved that he’s now the newest superstar, be it in sports or television.

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Aside from the numerous guestings on TV, the ice prince is also to receive a special honor during Game 6 of the PLDT Home DSL PBA Cup Finals (between San Mig and Rain Or Shine) aired live on TV5.

Men’s Figure Skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan is said to train further in Canada and one question was if Michael would follow suit to solidify his chances in the next Olympics.

He said that he’s staying put with his trainer, Russian 1998 Olympic champion Ilia Kulik, as they’ve been working together for so long and he’s confident with him. In fact, they have started training for quadruple axel in preparation for his bid in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics in Korea.

Asked about what was running through his mind when he fell during his free skate routine, he said that he can’t allow a second fall as he was fighting for his mom, himself and his country.

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He also said that he’s so happy and could hardly believe he met and was actually competing along with his idol, Patrick Chan of Canada, who placed second to Hanyu.

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Michael will soon go back to the US to train for the World Junior Figure Skating Championships 2014 in Sofia, Bulgaria, happening on March 10-16.

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Related stories: Filipinos proud of Michael Christian Martinez’s 2014 Olympics feat; Japanese wins Men’s Figure Skating gold https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/filipinos-proud-of-michael-christian-martinezs-2014-winter-olympics-feat-japanese-wins-mens-figure-skating-gold/ and Michael Christian Martinez banners Philippines in 2014 Winter Olympics https://arloc888.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/michael-christian-martinez-banners-philippines-in-2014-winter-olympics/