By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Michael Martinez expects harsher competition when he returns to the skating rink for the second time in the Winter Olympics next month in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
But the 21-year-old figure skater is unfazed.
“The competition has been very hard since four years ago. It’s going to be tough but I’m happy to be back,” said Martinez in a television interview from Los Angeles where he is currently training.
Martinez became the second Filipino to represent the country to the Games after Alexander Majorov of Sweden withdrew from the event for undisclosed reasons, opening a spot for the Filipino who is first on the wait list.
Martinez missed the cut by a hairline last September after placing eighth in the Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany, the final qualifying event to Pyeongchang. Only the Top 7 skaters in the said tournament were given Olympic tickets.
He joins Fil-American Asa Miller, who earlier qualified in slalom skiing.
The news of his inclusion surprised the Parañaque-born Martinez, but he said he continued to train despite missing the cut.
He only has two weeks left before the Games, which is slated Feb. 9 to 18.
“My coach told me, ‘Let’s just practice, just in case.’,” Martinez said, referring to his Ukrainian mentor Vyacheslav Zahorodnyuk.