Only 17 four years ago in Pyeongchang, alpine skier Asa Miller is bound for a sound improvement when he competes in his second consecutive Winter Olympics as a more experienced 21-year-old in Beijing.
“I wish him all the luck that he will improve on his performance from the last Winter Olympics,” Philippine Olympic Committee president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said on Friday. “But his qualification for Beijing is already an absolute honor for a tropical country like ours.”
“We are very fortunate to have a qualified athlete,” Tolentino added.
The Beijing Games are set from February 4 to 20, with the Filipino-American Miller vying in men’s slalom and giant slalom at the Xiaohaituo Alpine Skiing field in Yanqing District starting on February 16.
Miller finished in 70th spot among 110 competitors in his giant slalom debut in Pyeongchang 2018, where another Filipino, figure skater Michael Martinez, also participated.
Richer in experience and with skills he polished incessantly the last four years, Miller also qualified for men’s slalom in Beijing after making the threshold of 160 International Skiing Federation qualifying points.
“The whole Philippines is excited because we’re one of only a few countries in the Southeast Asian region that will compete in the Winter Olympics,” said Tolentino, who thanked the Philippine Sports Commission for its all-out support to the Philippine delegation. Chef de Mission Bones Floro and Athlete’s Welfare Officer Joebert Yu left Manila via Japan Airlines for the Chinese capital on Friday morning.
Miller, his father Kelly and Philippine Ski and Snowboard Federation President Jim Palomar Apelar will be arriving in Beijing on Sunday from the US on board Japan Airlines. Covid-19 Liaison Officer Nikki Cheng of Philippine Skating Union will also fly to Beijing on Sunday from Manila.
Will Gregorak, the American coach of Miller, will be arriving in China from the US after the opening ceremony.
Team Philippines will stay at the Yanqing Olympic Village.