Kathryn Magno, first and only PH speed skater, out to conquer SEAG odds
MANILA, Philippines – Ever since Kathryn Magno was 5 years old, she considered the ice skating rink as her second home. She has dedicated all her life to figure skating, and was undoubtedly good at it as she was able to represent the Philippine in international tourneys.
But 3 years ago, she suddenly had a change of heart.
Magno still embraced the coldness of the rink but bravely let go of the sport she lived for and tried something no one has dared to pursue yet.
“I wanted to challenge myself and trying a new sport was that challenge I needed,” said the 25-year-old Magno.
“For two years, I’ve not been skating at all to focus on work. I felt incomplete so I returned to figure skating. But my body wasn’t cooperating anymore. So I tried something else.”
In 2014, Magno trained as a speed skater. The first time she skated, the coaches didn’t think she was fit for the sport as her body was accustomed to another sport.
Magno quickly adjusted and turned pro in no time. During the 2016 Tri-Series South East Asia Cup in Singapore, Magno bannered the Philippine flag as she bagged two gold medals.
And her 500m gold was the Philippines’ first medal in an international short track speed skating.
“I never expected any of this to happen. Everything just came into place and I’m really happy about all of it,” shared Magno.
The country’s first speed skater
Speed skating is the ice counterpart of track and field – it is a competitive form of skating in which competitors have to race one another in a specific distance on skates.
Magno explained the transition she had to go through from being a graceful figure skater to a fierce speed skater was difficult and challenging.
“The gear is different. There is more pressure in speed skating. In figure skating, I have to do a lot of pilates and ballet while in speed skating, I have a more intense workout like lifting weights,” Magno said. “You have to be really smart in speed skating.”
Passionate and determined, Magno is excited to share her knowledge in the sport and eventually raise more athletes who would become world champions someday.
“Ultimately in the end, I won’t be skating forever. I want to pave way for others to learn about the sport and hopefully I get to do that once I represent the country in the SEA Games.”
Philippines’ lone ranger
As the Philippines will have its first bet in speed skating, Magno admitted she is having mixed feelings about being the “lone ranger” in the biennial tournament.
“I think right now that I am the lone ranger, I am happy that I have this opportunity not many athletes have the chance to go to SEA Games and be the first speed skater. It’s actually a lot of pressure,” said Magno.
“I just feel very honored to represent the country.”
When Magno started, she held a record of 55 seconds in the 500m event. But now, Magno is aiming to cut it to 50 seconds coming into the SEA Games.
With the competition nearing, Magno is holding on to her goal and inspiration: to win the top spot and bring the Philippines in the map of speed skating.
“I am prepared. I’m happy of what I’ve accomplished so far but I’m going into the SEA Games with more fire and power.” – Rappler.com