Michael Christian Martinez, the Philippines’ lone representative to the Winter Olympics in Sochi is all revved up for competition.
The 17-year-old Martinez is the first Filipino to compete in the traditional men’s figure skating singles, which starts February 13.
He is being coached by 76-year-old veteran Russian Victor Kudryavtsev.
The Winter Olympics kicks off February 7.
“My confidence level is very high and I think I’m ready to compete,” Martinez told writer Los Angeles David Casuco of Examiner.com. “I have enough training days and my coach is really good, but I know that will be a very tough competition.”
Martinez, who left for the country in 2008 for Colorado Springs in the US where he trained for a month, said he aims for the top 24 in order to qualify in the freeskate final event which will be participated by the world’s best skaters.
“Most skaters have been in this sports even before I was born, so qualifying in the top 24 will be absolutely tough, There are many veteran iceskaters and some of them are world and national champions,” he added.
Martinez was a gold medalist and undefeated champion in the Asian Junior Figure Skating Challenge from 2008 to 2011, a gold medalist at the 2012 Crystal Skate (senior level) in Romania, and bronze medalist at the 2013 Junior Gran Prix in Riga, Estonia.
He made it as the lone qualifier from Southeast Asia to the first 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games.
Last September, Martinez placed seventh at the 2013 Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany — the last qualifying event for the Sochi Games.
Martinez started iceskating at the South Mall Las Pinas in 2005.
JOSEF T. RAMOS