Winter Youth Olympian Julian Macaraeg is hoping to bring more spotlight to speed skating in the Philippines despite being a tropical country.
Macaraeg, the first Filipino speed skater to compete in the 2020 Lausanne Winter Youth Olympics, considers himself as a role model after representing the country at a high level.
“So I just try to be the best person I can be so I can inspire other people in my country to try short speed skating,” said the 17-year-old Macaraeg in ISU Short Track’s In the Spotlight interview.
“The fan base in the Philippines is still small since it’s such a new sport so my goal for the next couple years is just to continue to compete and just try to make the sport popular.”
In early March, the New York-based speed skater competed in the 2021 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Dordrecht, Netherlands.
He is the lone Filipino and one of the two contenders from tropical countries in the field alongside India’s Akash Aradhya.
After sustaining an injury, Macaraeg placed 42nd out of the 44-player field for the overall classification and ranked 35th and 39th in the 1,500-meter and 500m events of tournament rankings, respectively.
His long-term goal is to participate in the Winter Olympics, this time in the 2022 edition to be held in Beijing, China.
In the 2019 Southeast Asian Games at the SM Megamall Skating Rink in Mandaluyong, Macaraeg settled for fifth place while compatriot Marc Joseph Gonzales captured the bronze medal in the 1000m event for the country’s lone podium finish.