RP snubs Fil-Am figure skater: report

by Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Mar 23 2010 05:20 PM | Updated as of Mar 24 2010 01:20 AM

SAN FRANCISCO, California – A Filipino-American skater dreams of representing the Philippines in the international skating competitions. However, her dreams were suddenly put on hold.

Mericien Venzon is a strong jumper and a master of spins. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Venzon began competitive skating at the age of 4.

Now 18, Venzon could be the Philippines’ best bet to win international competition, and so she gave up being part of the US team to represent her parents’ home country.

“I just wanted to make a name for the Philippines in ice skating,” Venzon said.

In 2009, Venzon won over other skaters in the Philippine national championships. As the winner, the Philippine Skating Union (PSU) told her she would represent the Philippines in the World Championships this March.

Venzon took 6 months off school to train. Her mother Ellen said it takes a lot to support big dreams.

“Ang sacrifice you know not just financially. We have to work like 7 days a week. We have to wake up at 4 a.m. and drive her to the skating,” her mother said.

However, weeks before the world's championships, the PSU took back their word and sent a different skater.

“It wouldn’t have happened in the United States--someone would not have been named to the team and then taken off,” said her coach, Phillip Digugliemo.

PSU President Eric Camaligan said that after winning the Philippine nationals, they thought Venzon would also top the Filipino skaters in the Four Continents Championships in Korea in January, but she didn’t. Camaligan said they need to send a skater who can win the world championships, and Venzon, he said, just wasn’t ready.

Venzon and her family plan to file a complaint before the PSU. They also plan to write a letter to President Arroyo.

“I just want to be able to trust in the word of the Philippine Skating Union and to know that they are not gonna do this to me or to any other skater again,” she said.

The PSU said Venzon could still compete in the Junior Grand Prix Competition this year. But Venzon said she needs to compete in the World Championships to get the experience she needs to reach her ultimate dreams: the Olympics. Balitang America