Winter miracle in Beijing?

Joaquin Henson - The Philippine Star
Winter miracle in Beijing?
Asa Miller.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines will be represented by Asa Miller in the men’s giant slalom and slalom events at the Beijing Winter Olympics on Feb. 4-20 with chef de mission Bones Floro hoping for at least a quarterfinal finish, but the priorities are to compete proudly and stay safe.

There are 110 entries in the men’s giant slalom which will be held at the Xiaohaituo Alpine Skiing Field in the Yanqing district on Feb. 13. The men’s slalom will also gather 110 skiers on Feb. 16. Miller, 21, competed in the men’s giant slalom at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and clocked 2:49.95 to finish 70th of 110. He was nominated by the Philippine Ski and Snowboard Federation to be the country’s lone athlete this year.

“Our goal was to qualify more than just one athlete but our speed and two figure skaters didn’t make it,” said Floro. “One of our alpine skiiers was injured so we were down to Asa who qualified by earning enough points.  We’ve had to look for Fil-Ams in the US to represent us because as we know, there’s no winter in the Philippines.” Miller, whose mother Polly Bisquera is from Sta. Cruz, Manila, was born in Portland and attends school in Salt Lake City.

Miller, his father Kelly and coach Will Gregorak will arrive in Beijing from the US on Jan. 30. Bones, COVID liaison officer Nikki Cheng of the Philippine Skating Union and athletes welfare official Joebert Yu of the Philippine E-sports Organization will leave Manila on Jan. 28. The delegation will stay in Yanqing, one of three districts designated to host the Athletes Village.

“Everyone will be tested twice a day,” said Floro. “If you test positive, you’ll be sent to a hospital for 10 days. Although we’ll be represented by only one athlete, every delegation must list a chef de mission, COVID liaison officer and athletes welfare officer. Delegates are required to leave within 48 hours of their country’s last event. Athletes, however, are exempted from this rule and may stay until the end of the Games. Miller has actually requested to stay until the closing ceremonies.”

Floro, POC deputy secretary-general and National Golf Association of the Philippines secretary-general, was chef de mission at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics in Lausanne where the country was represented by Ana Noelle Wahleithner in girls giant slalom and slalom and Julian Macaraeg in boys short track speed skating in the 500 meter and 1,000 meter events. Wahleithner was 36th of 80 in giant slalom and 33rd of 80 in slalom. Macaraeg advanced to the quarterfinals in 500 meters but failed to make it to the semifinals. He didn’t get past the heats in 1,000 meters.


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