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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, February 17, 2018
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Skater Martinez falls
short in Winter Olympics stint

Michael Martinez put up a good fight in the Winter Olympics men's skating short program event, but failed to enter the second round of the competition.

Martinez, who had a flawless performance in Pyeongchang, South Korea yesterday, finished 28th out of 30 skaters with 55.56 points.

However, with only 24 skaters entering the next phase, Martinez, who captured a silver medal in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games last year, got the early boot.

Malaysian ice skater Julian Yee, who beat Martinez for the gold medal in Kuala Lumpur last year, barely missed the cut, ranking 25th with 73.58 points, just below the 74.73 points of German Paul Fentz, the last skater to enter the second round.

The Filipino skater performed to Vanessa Mae's "Emerald Tiger".

Martinez took to the Olympic yesterday, barely three weeks after coming out of retirement.

The 21-year-old, who at Sochi 2014 became the first skater from the Philippines to compete at a Winter Games, had been resigned to missing out on South Korea.

"I was sixth of seven at the qualifying event in Germany so I said to myself, it's time to pack up my skates, I'm done," he said after his short programme in the men's singles competition.

"My federation told me that it is not going to happen, the other countries confirmed their spots.

"I retired. Then two-and-a-half weeks later they told me, 'Michael, you're in'.

"I don't know how I was able to get all my jumps back. It usually takes two or three months to get your jumps back, but I was able to do triple loop and triple axel so it was fine," he said.

"Normally, if I hadn't got that call, I'd be back home watching this on TV."

Martinez's adventures on the world's biggest stage have triggered interest in the Philippines, a minnow in Olympic sports.

"Everyone said you won't be able to do it, you come from the Philippines, but I was able to open their eyes and inspire a lot of winter athletes, they were able to produce a hockey team, speed skating, and there are three or four Olympic-size rinks now, Martinez said.*AFP


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