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MANILA, Philippines – A coveted medal in the Winter Youth Olympics slipped out of the hands of short track speed skater Peter Groseclose.
Groseclose missed becoming the first Philippine medalist in the Winter Youth Games after an unlucky crash late in the men’s 500 final at the Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangwon, South Korea, on Monday, January 22.
Running third, the Filipino-American skater collided with China’s Zhang Bohao at the final turn before the finish line as he landed fifth on penalty.
USA’s Sean Boxiong Shuai clocked 41.498 for the gold, while China’s Zhang Xinzhe (41.755) and Hungary’s Dominik Gergely Major (41.969) – who were originally behind the pack – bagged silver and bronze, respectively.
“I got tripped,” said Groseclose, who needed to be treated in a hospital as he sustained a wound on his foot following the crash.
“I think it was my blade that cut the right side of my foot, but I’m okay.”
The 16-year-old topped his opening heat (42.019), quarterfinal heat (41.329), and semifinal heat (41.697) to advance to the medal round.
He looked on his way to bronze as he kept a significant distance over Zhang Xinzhe and Major before the sorry collision.
Placing fifth out of 36 skaters, though, is still considered a commendable feat for Groseclose.
“The Philippines is proud of Peter’s accomplishment despite what happened. Nothing to be ashamed of,” said Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino.
“Close to the bronze but still so much to be proud of,” Team Philippines chef de mission Ada Milby said. “Still our best finish ever in a winter sport at an Olympic event.”
Two more athletes will don the national colors as freestyle skier Laetaz Amihan Rabe and cross country skier Avery Balbanida see action in the coming days. – Rappler.com