MANILA, Philippines – With Olympian Michael Christian Martinez unable to compete in the World Junior Championships in Bulgaria, another Filipino figure skater picked up the slack by competing in the 2014 ISU World Championships in Saitama, Japan.
Christopher Caluza, 23, was the Philippines’ lone representative to the competition and finished in 19th place in the men’s free skating event.
He qualified to the free skate program by finishing in 18th place in the short program, with a score of 64.69.
He garnered a score of 128.54 in the free skate, a personal best, for a personal best total score of 193.23.
Japan’s Hanyu Yuzuru took the gold with a total score of 282.59, followed by compatriot Machida Tatsuki (282.26). Spain’s Javier Fernandez finished third with 275.93.
Caluza is based in San Diego, California, and reached the U.S. National Championship level twice before deciding to represent the Philippines in 2012.
“I’d wanted to compete for the Philippines for a long time, since I was 16,” Caluza told IceNetwork.com in a May 2013 interview.
“One of my inspirations was Manny Pacquiao, the famous boxer from the Philippines. I saw how he made a difference for the Filipino community, and I wanted to someday do the same. Another reason was to inspire kids from the Philippines,” he added.
“I didn’t want to compete for the Philippines unless I was ready and good enough. Making U.S. nationals in senior was a goal and a test for me. I didn’t want to compete for another country until I had ‘U.S. national competitor’ in my resume.”
It took Caluza some time to reach the U.S. national level, making the U.S. Championships only in 2010 in the junior level. He made it again in 2011, this time in the senior level, and afterward, committed to compete for the Philippines.
“I’d done my job in the U.S., and many people from the U.S. actually supported my decision. It was time for me to do it, and I don’t regret it,” Caluza told IceNetwork.