Filipino figure skater Michael Martinez has pulled out from the Nebelhorn Trophy, the last qualifying event for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, the Philippine Skating Union (PHSU) announced.
The PHSU said on Friday, August 20, that Martinez and his Russian coach Nikolai Morozov have decided to concentrate on his healing as he continues to recuperate from “on-and-off injuries.”
“Michael will also focus on adjusting to his programs, as well as adapting to new techniques to improve his skating while training in Moscow, Russia,” the PHSU said in a statement.
“His love for the sport remains [unwavering] and [he] hopes to come back stronger in creating a mark on the international stage of skating as a proud Filipino,” the federation added.
With Martinez out, Edrian Celestino will compete in the Nebelhorn Trophy, which is slated in September, alongside Sofia Frank.
Martinez represented the Philippines in the 2014 Sochi and 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, becoming the first skater from Southeast Asia to compete in the Winter Games.
The 24-year-old took a hiatus from the sport after the 2018 Olympics before he made his comeback in competitive figure skating this year.
He launched a fundraising campaign for his 2022 Olympic bid, with his GoFundMe page already earning over $21,000 (around P1 million) of its $50,000 (around P2.5 million) goal.
Despite missing the Nebelhorn Trophy, Martinez still has a shot at reaching the Beijing Games.
According to PHSU president Nikki Cheng, if the country manages to clinch an Olympic spot, their bevy of skaters will still go up against each other in competition to determine who will see action in Beijing.
“The Philippine Skating Union supports his decision and will continue to do so should he decide to join future competitions,” the PHSU said. – Rappler.com