Figure skaters Chua, Panlilio shine in 2017 SEA Challenge

MANILA — Charmaine Skye Chua and Diane Gabrielle Panlilio have brought honor to the Philippines by winning their respective events in the 2017 Southeast Asian (SEA) Figure Skating Challenge held from June 3-4 at the SM Seaside City skating rink.

The two promising athletes graced the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Phoenix Hotel in Pasay City on Tuesday.

Chua (wearing black in photo), an incoming Grade 8 student at Saint Jude Catholic School, won the gold medal in the Basic Novice B category of the tournament that was sanctioned by the Asian Skating Union (ASU) and jointly hosted by the Figure and Speed Skating Association of Thailand, Singapore Ice Skating Association, Ice Skating Association of Malaysia, Federasi Ice Skating Indonesia (FISI), and the Philippine Skating Union (PSU).

“I was nervous during the competition, I’m glad I won,” said the soft-spoken Chua, a towering 5-foot-8 athlete who will turn 14 next week.

The 13-year-old Panlilio (wearing white in photo), on the other hand, captured the gold medal in the Advanced Novice category over Malaysian Kyla Ichelle Ernest.

“Overall, I am happy with my performance. I did my best,” said Panlilio, a Grade 9 student from St. Paul’s College in Pasig City.

The tournament in Cebu City was the third leg of the SEA Challenge. The first leg was held on Dec. 2-4, 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand while the second leg was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on April 13-15, 2017.

Chua, who started competitive figure skating when she was eight years old, bagged the silver medal in Thailand where local Napasakorn Boonnark won the gold and Filipina Skye Frances Patenia pocketed the bronze.

Panlilio, who admires Russia’s two-time world champion Evgenia Armanovna Medvedeva, settled for third place in Thailand. Local Pantaree Sutcharit won the gold medal while Malaysian Hui Jeen Tan clinched the silver.

Chua made an impressive performance in the Malaysia leg by winning the gold medal, while Panlilio did not compete.

Chua’s first international tournament was the 2012 Skate Asia where she won the gold medal in the freestyle level 1.

Panlilio made her international debut in the 2009 Indonesia Open where she won the bronze in the pre-juvenile category and the best in choreography award. Jean Malanum/