Who says you need winter to join the winter games?
29 athletes are set to represent the Philippines in the 2017 Asian Winter Games happening on Feb. 19 to 26 in Sapporo, the capital of the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.
This is the first time the country is sending such a big delegation to the quadrennial tournament, said Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) chairman Tom Carrasco.
23 of the 29 athletes are members of the ice hockey team, which won a Division 2 tournament in Hong Kong.
Award-winning figure skater Michael Christian Martinez is again representing the country after being only Filipino athlete at the 2014 Winter Olympics. This year, he will be accompanied by Jules Alpe, Shayane Casapao and Samantha Cabiles, who are also entered in the figure skating competition.
The other two competitors are Ryan Espiritu will see action in snowboarding, and Kathryn Magno who will compete in speed skating. Both athletes are based abroad.
Except for Martinez, the rest are first-timers, but Chef de Mission Carrasco remains optimistic about bringing home medals.
The Filipino figure skaters and ice hockey players are using the Asian Winter Games as pre-SEA Games tournament.
Carrasco has already submitted the names of the 29 athletes and nine coaches to the Asian Winter Games Organizing Committee. Nine more officials including the medical and secretariat will also join the deligation. –Philippine News Agency (PNA)