By Betheena Kae Unite
Two Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) personnel recently made history as the first Europa Cup bobsleigh / bobsled competition participants from the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
Seaman First Class Rolando Isidro, the bobsled pilot, and Seamon Second Class Jeffrey Dela Cruz, brakeman, joined the distinguished competition held at the Olympia Eiskanal in Igls, Tirol, Austria on Jan. 5, 2018, according to Thelmo Cunanan Jr., President and CEO of Philippine National Bobsled, Luge, and Skeleton Association (PNBLSA), Incorporated.
Cunanan disclosed that after their successful Europa Cup debut, Isidro and Dela Cruz will compete in two more bobsled races — the Austria Cup and the Tirol Cup – before returning to the Philippines in March.
Cunanan also said that the objective of the PNBLSA is to further develop this sport and give our athletes more experience in the coming winter games seasons by training and competing in the Beijing winter Olympics in 2022 and participating in other international competitions around the world.
Isidro and Dela Cruz are detailed with the Coast Guard Special Service Office, according to the PCG.
The Europa Cup, organized by the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF), is one of the world’s most prestigious and important annual bobsled competitions.
According to Cunanan, Isidro and Dela Cruz were guest participants of the said event.
They joined teams from around the world, including Germany, USA, Austria, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Australia, Latvia, Serbia, Romania, Japan, and 2014 Olympic bobsled champion Russia.
The Filipinos got off to a rocky start but they rallied and made a successful second run, finishing slightly behind Team Japan.
International bobsled powerhouse Germany dominated the event, with sweeping victories in both the two-man and two-woman bobsled divisions.
The duo has been assigned with PNBLSA in a partnership agreement with the PCG. They have been training for the last four months at Olympiaworld Innsbruck, the highest sports authority in Tirol, Austria, which has generously provided the team with technical support and training.