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MANILA, Philippines – A last-minute injury kept Filipina freestyle skier Laetaz Amihan Rabe from competing in her first event in the Winter Youth Olympics in Gangwon, South Korea.
Rabe hurt her left knee just before the start of the women’s freeski slopestyle qualification at the Welli Hilli Park on Wednesday, January 24.
Doing a routine warm-up, the 14-year-old sustained the injury no thanks to a bad landing.
“I’m disappointed and devastated because the weather was also good,” said Rabe, who lives in Switzerland. “I wanted to compete, but they didn’t allow me.”
Together with her father and coach Ric, Rabe was brought to the Wonju Severance Christian Hospital for treatment.
“She really wanted to go for it despite her condition, but we didn’t let her after she felt some pain in her left knee,” said the older Rabe. “It’s maybe the athlete’s adrenaline rush that kept her going.”
Rabe also suffered a minor jaw bruise when she crashed in training on Monday.
Her knee injury came just two days after Filipino-American short track speed skater Peter Groseclose sustained a cut on his right foot during the men’s 500m final last Monday.
Groseclose needed to be stitched up after an unlucky collision just before the finish line – an incident that also prevented him from becoming the Philippines’ first medalist in the Winter Youth Games.
Rabe, though, can still end her campaign on a high note as she is scheduled to participate in the women’s freeski big air on Sunday, January 28.
“She’s in high spirits and praying to still compete on Sunday,” her father said. “It’s up to the doctor’s decision.”
Meanwhile, cross country skier Avery Balbanida is expected to arrive in Gangwon on Thursday, January 25. – Rappler.com