?Julian Macaraeg
?Julian Macaraeg
Macaraeg first Pinoy to compete in 2020 Winter Youth Olympics
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - February 1, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — For a country known for its tropical rainforest climate, the Philippines will understandably not excel in winter sports.

But figure skater Michael Martinez defied the odds and made the Winter Olympics not just once but twice – 2014 in Sochi, Russia and 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea – and blazed the trail for Filipino ice skaters dreaming the Olympic dream.

Enter Julian Macaraeg, who will be the first Filipino to ever compete in the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics in Lausanne, Switzerland after a solid performance in the International Skating Union Junior World Short Track Championships in Montreal, Canada.

Philippine Skating Union secretary-general Pico Martin recently said the 14-year-old, New York-based Macaraeg clocked 43.7 seconds in the 500 meters, enough to make the cut to the Lausanne competion slated Jan. 9 -22 next year.

Macaraeg also emerged the best Southeast Asian in both 500 and 1,000 meters.

For his feat, Macaraeg has zoomed to No. 42 in the world in the ISU world junior rankings.

Another Phl bet, Marc Gonzales, is hoping to also qualify in the Junior Grand Prix event.

Interestingly, ice skating is expected to make it to the calendar of events in the 2019 Manila Southeast Asian Games in December.

Macaraeg joins Martinez in the exclusive club of  world-class Filipino skaters even as they rely only on training in the ice skating rinks of SM Malls.      

2020 WINTER YOUTH OLYMPICS JULIAN MACARAEG
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