THE Philippines will be sending an experienced national men’s ice hockey team to the 8th edition of the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo and Obihiro, Japan.
The squad will bring with them the experience they had after reaching the finals of the second division of the Hong Kong Invitationals for consecutive years.
National head coach, Fil-French Francois Gautier said in a radio interview that the national team’s outing and exposure have been very good and positive going into their first-ever international stint.
The Philippines will take part in ice hockey, figure skating, short track speed skating and snow boarding.
Chef de mission Tom Carrasco said the teams involved are expected to leave early for the Games, set from Feb. 19 to 26.
There are 31 countries joining, including first-timers Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan and Vietnam.
The games were last held in Astana, Kazakhstan in 2011 with the host country leading the medal race with 32 golds, 21 silvers and 17 bronze medals.
Meanwhile, Michael Christian Martinez, who recently finished 19th out of 30 competitors at the 2016 World Figure Skating Championships, leads the four-skater national squad.
He will be with Jules Alpe in the men’s division, together with Samantha Cabiles and Shayanne Casapao in the women’s side.
Kathryn Victory Magno, a speed skater from San Jose, California in the United States, will represent the country in the short-track speed skating meet.
Another Fil-American Ryan Magno, takes part in snowboarding.