More athletes eyed in future Winter Olympics

Published January 12, 2022, 12:57 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

POC president Bambol Tolentino, left, and Skiing Federation chief Jim Apelar

The Philippine Skiing and Snowboard Federation hopes the participation of Asa Miller in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics would encourage more aspiring athletes to join the national team in the future.

Federation president Jim Apelar said they have already 10 young athletes in various disciplines in their training pool to hopefully follow the footsteps of Miller, who will be competing in the men’s slalom and giant slalom in his second Winter Olympics stint.

“This is just the beginning. We’re looking at having more athletes in other disciplines and hopefully more athletes qualifying to future Winter Olympics. May lalabas at lalabas dyan one of these days,” said Apelar during his guesting at the Pandesal Forum held online.

The United States-based Apelar said they are slowly trying to introduce the sport in the country despite the challenges since the Philippines is a tropical country.

“We’re gathering resources especially in the Philippines to bring three clubs, similar to what Thailand is doing,” he said, adding that Thailand has four qualifiers in the Winter Games scheduled Feb. 4 to 20.

“We’re going to strengthen our grassroots program.”

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Bambol Tolentino lauded the efforts of the skiing federation in producing an athlete such as Miller.

“The whole country will be excited dahil ilan lang sa Southeast Asia ang may athletes sa Winter Olympics,” Tolentino said.

Since Miller is the lone qualifier to the Games, Tolentino said the Philippine delegation will only be composed of around six to seven delegates.

Bones Floro, the country’s chief of mission to the Winter Games, is also making sure of the health and safety of Miller and the delegation.

“Doon kasi, once you entered (the Village), hindi ka na makakalabas. And they’re also strict with the swab testing. Madaming swab tests na gagawin,” he said.

Miller will come from the United States where he is based and has been training.

“We’re looking at sending him on Jan. 28 and be there on the 30th kasi alam nyo naman na with this pandemic situation, pabago-bago yung mga flight schedule. And we’re also anticipating the traffic on Feb. 1 which is the Chinese New Year,” Apelar said.