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Filipino figure skater Michael Christian Martinez impresses in historic debut in Sochi Games

AFP

AFP

Filipino figure skater Michael Christian Martinez made history on Thursday night after competing in the short program in the men’s event in the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

Martinez, a 17-year-old prodigy from Muntinlupa City, was hailed by the television commentators as “a really entertaining skater” prior to his routine. They also noted his pioneering status as the first Filipino to compete in the figure skating event in the Olympics. “History is being made,” according to the announcers.

He was fifth in the start list, coming after Liam Firus of Canada, Yakov Godorozha of the Ukraine, Misha Ge of Uzbekistan, and Jorik Hendrickx of Belgium.

Skating to “Romeo and Juliet” by Arthur Fiedler, Martinez calmly took the ice.

He pulled off a triple Axel on his first attempt, before nailing a triple lutz without incident. He also showcased his flexibility with a camel spin.

“Such a great performance from such a young man,” noted the commentators.

“What a debut for the Philippines!” said one commentator.

“That was fantastic!” chimed another announcer. “Well done, you can be very proud of yourself.”

He scored a 33.31 in technical and a 31.5 in the component for a 64.81 score. It was his best score of the skating season.

Martinez was later assured of entry into the free program on Friday after Russian legend Evgeni Plushenko withdrew from the contest, while Viktor Romanekov of Estonia and Brendan Kerry of Great Britain failed to beat the Filipino’s score.

The top 24 skaters in the short program will compete again in the free program.

1. Canada – Liam Firus – 55.04
2. Ukraine – Yakov Godorozha – 62.65
3. Uzbekistan – Misha Ge – 68.07
4. Belgium – Jorik Hendrickx – 72.52
5. Philippines – Michael Christian Martinez – 64.81
6. Kazakhstan – Abzal Rakimgaliev – 64.18
7. Russia – Evgeni Plushenko – Withdrawn
8. Estonia – Viktor Romanekov – 61.55
9. Great Britain – Brendan Kerry – 47.12
10. Italy – Paul Bonifacio Parkinson – 56.30
11. United States – Jeremy Abbott – 72.58
12. Romania – Kelemen Zolt├ín – 60.41

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