GLENDALE, California – Filipino Olympian Michael Christian Martinez made a winning return to the ice after he nabbed the gold medal in the Triglav Trophy in Slovenia over the weekend, beating six other international skaters.
Martinez, who placed 19th overall in the figure skating event in the Sochi Winter Games last February, scored 63.29 in the short program last Friday.
He returned for Sunday’s free skate and dominated with a score of 131.84 in the senior men’s free skating event.
His total of 195.15 was five points higher than second placer Kenji Tanaka of Japan.
“Sobrang saya na pagbalik ko sa competition, nanalo ako,” said Martinez. “Na-expect ko na mag-medal, pero hindi ko na-expect na maging champion, dahil nga sa mga injuries ko, at saka magagaling ‘yung mga kalaban.”
Martinez revealed that he won the gold despite competing at less than 100% fitness. Aside from dealing with jetlag, the pre-existing injuries that slowed him down in practices after the Olympics nearly forced him out of the competition.
“Michael is still not in his best. Wala pa siya sa 100%, so he could have scored higher,” his coach Ted Domingo said.
“Medyo masakit pa rin. Nararamdaman ko pa rin, pero kina-kaya ko,” added Martinez.
Martinez is now considering entering another competition next month in Dubai.
Meanwhile, two other Filipinos also competed at the Slovenia event. Fil-Norwegian Camilla Gjersem placed seventh overall in the senior ladies, while Philippine representative Samantha Cabiles came in sixth in the junior ladies.
Martinez will return to the United States later this week.