Michael Christian Martinez received a warm welcome when he arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminal 1 on Sunday.
A smiling Martinez, who finished 19th in the medal round of the men’s figure skating competition in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and the first Olympic figure skater from Southeast Asia, told reporters at the airport that he is very happy over such a warm welcome.
“Masayang-masaya po at nandito na ako,” Martinez said, who arrived with his mother Maria Teresa Cuyo Martinez and Manuel Vitan Veguillas, Philippine Skating Union president.
Veguillas said that Martinez did his best against top athletes from countries that actually have a winter season. “Maganda itong nangyari sa atin dahil nakilala tayo sa buong mundo. Ang Pilipino pala kahit walang snow gumagawa ng maganda.”
The 17-year-old from Muntinlupa City earned the admiration and respects of the country’s sports officials albeit bowing out of the medal position in the men’s figure skating finals, and also earned the world’s attention. He also placed fifth among the best male figure skaters in the world.
Martinez and his group were fetched by SM representatives at the airport where he was given a motorcade in the SM Mall of Asia.
Martinez in an earlier interview said he is looking forward to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Korea where he hopes to win a medal.
In one of his interviews during the competition, Martinez said that skating with veterans and top world skaters is really different. “I feel really happy to be with them, it feels like I’m already a champion and yeah, skating here with them and competing here with them, it feels really great.” BENJIE L. VERGARA