Friends, teammates proud of Pinoy skater in Sochi

By Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 13 2014 08:44 PM | Updated as of Feb 14 2014 04:44 AM

MANILA -- Michael Martinez will be the fifth skater in group one to perform in the short program when the figure skating competition gets underway in the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Thirty skaters are competing and only the Top 24 will advance to the free skate finals.

Martinez’s routine, which will use music from “Romeo and Juliet,” is two minutes and 49 seconds long.

“My experience and training is not that complete, but for this competition and to try to qualify for the final event, I am prepared. I can say I am prepared," said Martinez.

The pressure will be on for Martinez, who will be performing in a 12,000-seater venue in Russia.

He draws strength from the rigorous training he's done with his Russian coach and the never-ending support from his mother, Teresa.

"She is very supportive, in everything. She gives everything, she supports me," said Martinez.

His former teammates in Manila are extremely proud.

"Si Michael napaka-flexible as a male skater.... isang quality na unique. Siguro napansin ng mga judges, napansin ng mga European and other competitors. [We're] very very happy deserving talaga siya," said Cara Damian, Martinez’s former teammate at the Metro Ice Skate Club.

One of Martinez’s first coaches also looked back at the early stages of the Olympian's skating career.

“Nag-enroll nga siya sa ice skating program namin... nung una recreational muna ang kanyang in-enroll, basic level pa lang hanggang sa nag-progress na s’ya into competitive,” said Roy Rones, SM Ice Skating Rinks coach.

Back in 2010, his first Russian coach changed most of his techniques. Even then, he rapidly adjusted and rose to world-class form.

“Ang nakakagulat that in a short span of time, nakuha niya agad 'yung points, 'yung required points para magqualify sya,” said Melanie Damian, founding president of the Metro Ice Skate Club.

In the preliminary stage, Martinez will strive to execute every move to perfection to get the much-needed points from the judges.

"Let's say they asked him to do the required elements, let's say the triple axle. 'Yung bilis ng pagenter sa jump, hindi lang basta tumalon ka iiskoran ka, may quality dapat. 'Dun maglalaro 'yung points nya,” said Ana Benitez, a figure skating choreographer.

She added that the judges will also be looking at the impact of Martinez’s performance on the audience.