Who will follow the footsteps of Michael Christian Martinez?
Well the best place to figure that out is to check the upcoming skaters from POC-sanctioned tournaments such as the recently concluded Asian Junior Figure Skating Challenge held in Hong Kong. The event saw a bunch of new Filipino-bred skaters which included Audrey Alcaraz, the same Filipino skater who was invited to perform during the closing ceremonies of the last Sochi Olympics.
However, it was not Alcaraz who took the limelight in the tournament where Michael Martinez regularly competed in.
Rather, young and upcoming skaters like Dianne Gabrielle Panlilio and Charmaine Skye Chua who spearheaded an impressive showing, placing both second overall in their respective groups and First in their subgroups
Panlilio finished 2ndoverall in the Advanced Pre-Novice Girls with total of 60.82 in her group behind Angel Li of China with 61.35 which was split into three groups composed of 5 participants each. Panlilio amassed a total segment score of 37.48 for the free skating event and 23.34 for the short program.
“We knew that her category was one of the toughest so I just kept on reminding her to do what she has been practicing all this time. We just wanted her to stick to her program and focus. We were just happy that she executed well and her hard work paid off, leading in the short program and just missing the overall championship by half a point to a well-trained Chinese skater,” says Gaby’s dad Edler Panlilio.
Coaches Dale Feliciano and Ronan Capili added:
“It wasnt easy! She was only given 3mins to warm up! Then skate her 2minute program with all those jumps & spins and under intense pressure! Even we couldn’t do that in our heydays. She was splendid!”
Skye Chua ended up also with a runner-up finish behind Hiu Yau Chow of host Hong Kong with a total of 41.29. She topped the Free skating event with a total segment score of 27.20 , after starting her short program with a 14.09 . That was however enough to land her a second overall finish in the Basic Novice A group which was split into 6 groups composed of five skaters each.
“I thank God for this blessing, I never thought she would be first in her subgroup and 2nd overall. She started 4th after the short program, but I think that brought out the best in her, since she knew that she needed to give her best to get a crack at a chance at podium finish” says proud dad Smith Chua.
“I’m truly proud of her. She did a wonderful and graceful routine during her short and free skating program. Through her motivation, hardwork and love for figure skating. She was able to do her best and execute her jumps and spins really well” says her coach, Clarisse Roman.
The Asian Juniors is an event where the best skaters from the Asian region participate in. Aside from the Philippines, the best skaters from China, Malaysia, Thailand , Indonesia and Hong Kong take part in this annual meet.