Olympic figure skater Michael ‘Iceman’ Martinez spearheads the Philippine team that will compete in the 2017 Asian Winter Games slated Feb. 19 to 26 in Sapporo, Japan.
The 20-year-old Martinez, who was the first figure skater from Southeast Asian to qualify for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, will be joining Jules Alpe in the men’s event, as well as female skaters Shayane Casapao and Samantha Cabiles.
Also competing are Kathryn Magno in short track speed skating, Ryan Espiritu in snowboarding, and the 23-man men’s ice hockey squad.
The 29-man PH team is a far cry from the three-man squad that the country sent in the 2011 edition in Astana, Kazakhstan where the National’s best finish was a seventh place from figure skater Zhaira Costiniano.
While hopes are high for Martinez to take the country to the limelight, the men’s ice hockey team is optimistic as well as they are bracketed in the lower division along with Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Kyrgyzstan.
The team is composed of Fil-Swiss captain John Steven Fuglister, Fil-French assistant captain Francois Gautlier and Carl Michael Montano, Javier Alfonso, Jose Iñigo Cadiz, Philip Cheng, Michael Wang, Carlo Garrucho, Benjamin Imperial, Gianpietro Iseppi, Lenard Lancero, Alison Lapiz, Hector Navasero, Georgino Orda, Michel Relampagos, Jed Reyes, Jon Davis Samson, Paul Sanchez, Julian and Julius Santiago, Miguel Serrano, Pabolo Spatford, and Patrick Syquiatco.
The Asian Winter Games will also serve as a pre-tournament for the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia in August with all four disciplines that the PH team are participating are also included.