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Martinez makes it to Winter Games

Michael Martinez expects a stiffer competition when he plays in the Winter Olympics next month in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

But the 21-year-old figure skater is unfazed having competed in the 2014 Sochi Games.

“The competition has been very hard since four years ago. It’s going to be tough but I’m happy to be back,” said Martinez in a television interview from Los Angeles, California where he is currently training.

Martinez became the second Filipino to represent the country to the Games after Alexander Majorov of Sweden withdrew from the event for undisclosed reason.

Being No. 1 in the waiting list, he got a call he never expected while training in the United States.

Martinez missed the cut by a hairline last September after placing eighth in the Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany, the final qualifying event to Pyeongchang.

Only the Top 7 skaters in the said tournament were given Olympic tickets.

He joins Fil-American Asa Miller, who earlier qualified in slalom skiing.

The news of his inclusion surprised the Parañaque-born Martinez, but he said he will continue training in the United States.

He only has two weeks left before the Games, which is slated Feb. 9 to 18.

“My coach told me, ‘Let’s just practice just in case.’ Also, a lot of my friends are pushing me to practice so I’ve been practicing. Training here has been amazing,” Martinez said, referring to his Ukrainian mentor Vyacheslav Zahorodnyuk.

Martinez added he will perform Vanessa Mae’s “Emerald Tiger” in the Games, which is an old program from last season where he said “a lot of people loved.”