MANILA, Philippines -- Slalom racer Asa Miller's upcoming participation in the Beijing Winter Olympics should open the doors for more Filipino athletes.
This is the hope expressed by chef-de-mission Bones Floro, who is leading the lean Philippine delegation to the Beijing Games.
"Definitely, in the next Winter Olympics, we will have more entries," Floro said.
The Philippine Ski and Snowboard Federation, headed by Jemeul Apelar, is actively promoting winter sports among Filipinos, according to Floro. The official also noted that interest in winter sports has grown ever since figure skater Michael Martinez competed in the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.
"Dumadami na," said Floro of the number of Filipinos taking up winter sports during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum on Tuesday.
"In snowboard, from one athlete, they have around eight to 10 now. They’re getting there. We also have speed skaters now," said Floro.
But the focus at the moment is on 21-year-old Miller, who will be competing in the Winter Olympics for the first time after seeing action in Pyeongchang in 2018.
Floro reported that Miller is "in very high spirits."
"He's training now in the mountains as we speak," he added. "He's very positive, very passionate and very proud."
Miller, who was born in Portland, Oregon, competed in the giant slalom event in 2018 and placed 70th among 110 entries.
Floro said Miller is determined to improve upon that result.
"He was telling me that his first stint, I think he must have been 16 or 17. That was four years ago and he was telling me that at that time, he was totally surprised and amazed that he did make it," Floro said of Miller.
"But now, he's prepared. Since that time, he was saying that these past four years, talagang he dedicated himself, full time, just to prepare for this coming participation in the Olympics here," he added.
"So I think he's grown a lot more, he's matured a lot, and he's older now, and he's much more prepared."
Miller, whose mother is from Sta. Cruz, Manila, will see action in the giant slalom on February 13 and the slalom on February 16.