Figure skater Martinez earns 2018 Winter Olympics berth

MANILA — Michael Christian Martinez has earned a slot in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games after reaching the championship round in the ongoing International Skating Union (ISU) World Figure Skating Championships at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland.

Philippine Skating Union president Manuel Veguillas told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Friday that Martinez scored 69.32 points to finish among the Top 24 in the men’s short program after Thursday’s (Friday in Manila) competition.

World champion Javier Fernandez was ranked first with 109.05 points followed by Shoma Uno of Japan (104.86 points) and 2014 Olympic silver medalist and three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Canada (102.13 points).

Boyang Jin of China, the 2016 World bronze medalist, placed fourth (98.64 points), Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan was fifth (98.39 points) while 2017 Four Continents Champion Nathan Chen of USA finished sixth (97.33 points). Russian Mikhail Kolyada was seventh (93.28) followed by American Jason Brown (93.10), Kazakhstan’s Denis Ten (90.18) and Russian Maxim Kovtun (89.38).

Veguillas said the final round is scheduled at 10 a.m. (Helsinki time) on Saturday.

Martinez debuted at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and has competed at the Sapporo Winter Games last month.

Martinez will lead the Philippine campaign in this year’s Southeast Asian Games, where figure skating will be introduced as one of the events.​

​Jules Alpe and US-based Shayane Casapao and Samantha Cabiles also saw action in Sapporo but their participation in the SEA Games scheduled on August 19-31 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia has yet to be confirmed. Jean Malanum/