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MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines wrapped up its campaign in the Winter Youth Games in Gangwon, South Korea, marked by unfortunate injuries and a missed chance for a breakthrough Olympic medal.
Cross country skier Avery Balbanida finished 65th in the men’s 7.5km classic on Tuesday, January 30, as he survived the Games unscathed after two of his fellow Filipino delegates went down with injuries.
Short track speed skater Peter Groseclose suffered a right foot wound after competing in three events, while freestyle skier Laetaz Amihan Rabe sustained a left knee injury that prevented her from seeing action in her two events.
Despite the setbacks, the Philippines showed promise as it almost won its first-ever medal in the Winter Youth Olympics.
After a pair of quarterfinal exits in his men’s 1,500m and 1,000m categories, Groseclose saved the best for last as he ran third in the 500m final before a collision near the finish line denied him of the bronze.
“It only means we’re improving every year in winter sports and we’re all proud of them for being part of the history as our young athletes there,” said Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino.
“Thank you Peter Groseclose, Laetaz Amihan Rabe. and Avery Balbanida.”
Rabe hurt her knee following a bad landing during the warm-ups for the women’s freeski slopestyle and got ruled out for the rest of the Games as she also missed the free ski big air event.
Meanwhile, Balbanida placed 68th in the men’s sprint free on Monday before concluding the Philippines’ campaign in the 7.5km classic.
“I hope they continue with their quest to qualify for the Winter Olympics two years from now,” said Tolentino.
The Philippines sent its biggest delegation to the Winter Youth Games this year, with two athletes representing the country in 2012 in Innsbruck, Austria, and in 2020 in Lausanne, Switzerland. – Rappler.com