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Pinoy figure skaters Edrian Paul Celestino, Sofia Frank to compete in Nebelhorn Olympic qualifier; Julian Macaraeg for speed skating


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The Philippine Skating Union (PHSU) on Friday announced the names of the three skaters that will compete in the qualifying tournaments scheduled this year for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Edrian Paul Celestino bested Christopher Caluza and Michael Martinez to be the Philippines' male representative for the Nebelhorn Trophy, figure skating's Olympic qualifiers, which will be held in September in Germany.

Celestino topped the two-part assessment conducted by PHSU which involved a virtual and in-person competition. The 23-year old skater placed first in the virtual competition with 139.90 points, while he had an additional 191.80 points from the Quebec Summer Championships.

"I think the one thing I really look forward to is to be able to showcase my talent to the world and to also try to inspire upcoming generations that want to pursue figure skating," Celestino said about his upcoming stint in Germany.

Meanwhile, Sofia Frank will represent the flag in the Nebelhorn Trophy for the women's division.

According to PHSU president Nikki Cheng, Frank underwent the same process the male skaters had.

"We actually had another candidate, it was Allison Perticheto. They both went through the same process: virtual and live competition. It's just that unfortunately, the other candidate has been having problems with her training in Europe because of local rink closures as well. She has been hopping from one country to another so it was a really difficult situation and unforeseen circumstance for her," Cheng told GMA News Online.

"Sofia actually wanted to start competing for the Philippines since 2020 except that the national competition did not push through. We're very blessed that she still has the interest to compete for the Philippines and that's the reason why she's hopped on in the team right now," she added.

Ahead of Nebelhorn, Frank said she wants to improve her consistency and artistry.

“I think I really need to work on getting more consistent and working on my artistry and components on getting higher marks... and my spins also in getting those levels and just making sure where everything is where it needs to be,” she said.

For speed skating, PHSU selected Julian Macaraeg to compete in the upcoming Olympic qualifiers.

Macaraeg is expected to join the Speed Skating World Cup series to land a spot in Beijing.

According to PHSU, only the Top 32 for the 500 meter and 1000 meter races, and the Top 36 of the 1500 meter race from the series will bag an Olympic spot.

Macaraeg already represented the Philippines in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, 2020 Winter Youth Olympics, and 2021 World Short Track Speed Skating championships.

"The coming season is probably the biggest season that I have prepared the most for," Macaraeg said. "I want to showcase my talent, all the hard work that I have done this summer in those upcoming competitions."

The Speed Skating World Cup series is scheduled from October to November this year.

The Beijing Winter Olympics is slated for February 4-20 next year.

—JMB, GMA News

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