By CARLO ANOLIN
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Bambol Tolentino is expecting a significant improvement from Alpine skier Asa Miller when he competes in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics next month.
The 21-year-old Miller will be competing in the men’s slalom and giant slalom at the Xiaohaituo Alpine Skiing field in Yanqing District starting Feb. 16.
The Beijing Games are set from Feb. 4 to Feb. 20.
“I wish him all the luck that he will improve on his performance from the last Winter Olympics,” said Tolentino. “But his qualification for Beijing is already an absolute honor for a tropical country like ours.”
“We are very fortunate to have a qualified athlete,” added the POC chief.
Miller barged in the men’s slalom in the Beijing Games after making the cut with 160 International Skiing Federation qualifying points.
The Filipino-American skier was just 17 when he finished 70th out of the 110 athletes in the giant slalom event in the 2018 Pyeongchang, which marks his debut as a Winter Olympian.
Another Filipino in figure skater Michael Martinez also joined Miller in representing the Philippines four years ago.
“The whole Philippines is excited because we’re one of only a few countries in the Southeast Asian region that will compete in the Winter Olympics,” said Tolentino, thanking the Philippines Sports Commission for its all-out support.
Chef de Mission Bones Floro and Athlete’s Welfare Officer Joebert Yu have left Manila via Japan Airlines on Friday morning, Jan. 28.
Miller, his father Kelly and Philippine Ski and Snowboard Federation President Jim Palomar Apelar, meanwhile, will be arriving in Beijing on Sunday from the United States aboard Japan Airlines as well while COVID-19 Liaison Officer Nikki Cheng of the Philippine Skating Union will also travel to the Chinese capital on Sunday, Jan. 30, from Manila.
Will Gregorak, Miller’s American coach, will be arriving in China from the US after the opening ceremony and the Philippine delegation will be staying at the Yanqing Olympic Village.