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Sports

Caluag siblings carry Phl’s gold medal hopes

Gerry Carpio - The Philippine Star

INCHEON, South Korea – Even as the Philippines is pinning its hopes on Filipino bets for a medal on a day to day basis – and finding none so far – Team Philippines is looking far ahead, at an Oct. 1 event where US-based Danny Caluag and his brother Christopher John are competing for what could be a1-2 Philippine finish in the BMX event of cycling.

Caluag was Asia’s top BMX rider in 2011 and 2012 and both brothers finished 1-2 in the 2013 Myanmar Games, raising hopes of a repeat over the rest of Asia, including the Japanese and Chinese, whom they dominated the last two years.

Asia is quite new to the sport, which is dominated worldwide by North Americans, Austrians and Eastern Europeans.

After failing to qualify for the finals in the 2012 London Olympics after finishing dead last overall in the heats, Caluag vowed to do better in the Rio 2016 Olympics and worked his way to the top in Southeast Asia and Asia in the last two years.

His biggest Asian triumph was a gold medal in the eighth Asian BMX to championships in Singapore in 2012. He clocked 29.951 seconds to beat two Japanese stalwarts – Tatsumi Matsuhita (30.36) and Yukia Yoshimura (30.48).

That was his first medal as a rider for the Philippines. He was entered in the BMX competitions in the 2011 Indonesia SEA Games but was disqualified because of technicalities, using a US license to compete for the Philippines.

The Asian triumph makes him the man to beat in the BMX event but whether he is up to form for Incheon has become suspect as there are no UCI (International Cycling Union) records available to show he had competed anywhere in the world after his 2013 SEAG gold medal win.

He has been competing in the US, interspersing his regular training with his studies as nursing student in Calilfornia.

The 27-year-old (Jan. 15, 1987) from Harbor City, in Los Angeles who traces his Filipino roots to Bulacan and Nueva Ecija, first competed in the 2007 UCI BMX world championships where finished with the silver in the elite men cruiser in Victoria, British Columbia.

The Incheon organizers have yet to release the entries for the BMX event, where two gold medals – for men and women – are at stake.

 

AUSTRIANS AND EASTERN EUROPEANS

BMX

BRITISH COLUMBIA

BULACAN AND NUEVA ECIJA

CALUAG

CHRISTOPHER JOHN

DANNY CALUAG

HARBOR CITY

INCHEON

INTERNATIONAL CYCLING UNION

JAPANESE AND CHINESE

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