FOR the second straight Asian Games, Filipino-American BMX rider Daniel Caluag gave the Philippines a medal.
Hacking out a bronze in the men’s racing competition on Saturday at the Jakarta International BMX track, Mr. Caluag, 31, assured himself of not going home empty-handed in the quadrennial Games, following up on his gold medal in the 2014 Asiad in Incheon, South Korea.
Mr. Caluag raced hard in his event but could not get the better of eventual gold medallist Yoshitako Nagasako of Japan and runner-up Gusti Bagus Saputra of Indonesia.
The Philippine bet clocked in at 35.842 seconds, behind Messrs. Nagasako and Saputra’s time of 33.699 and 34.314 seconds, respectively.
Admitted to really wanted to win the gold medal, Mr. Caluag said he was still proud of his performance and happy to have been able to throw his share in the medal haul of the Philippines in the ongoing 18th Asian Games in Indonesia.
“I didn’t get the result I aimed for but I am happy to contribute a medal for the Philippines,” said Mr. Caluag.
Mr. Caluag’s medal-winning performance was lauded by the Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines (PhilCycling), underscoring that despite the limited competition the Filipino rider had in the lead-up to the Games he still was able to deliver a medal.
“Danny didn’t race in any UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) event ahead of the Asian Games but still he managed to deliver. He has beaten the Japanese gold medallist before but in this race, Danny gave him a scare — to think that the Japanese is UCI-ranked while Danny isn’t,” PhilCycling President Abraham Tolentino said.
“Not bad after four years. When it comes to BMX, the Philippines is still the team to beat,” he added.
Mr. Caluag’s bronze was part of the nine bronze medals of the Philippines had as of Sunday noon.
Also adding bronze medals were Meggie Ochoa in jiu-jitsu on Friday and Jeffrey Rhey Loon and Dines Dumaan in pencak silat on Sunday.
Early bronze winners for the Philippines were the taekwondo poomsae men’s and women’s teams, taekwondo jin Pauline Lopez and wushu’s Agatha Wong and Divine Wally.
Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz was still the lone gold medallist for the Philippines.
As of this writing, the Philippines was at 24th place in the medal standings which China, Japan, and South Korea continue to dominate.
FILIPINO ATHLETES HOME-BOUND
Meanwhile, 54 of the 272 athletes of Team Philippine flew back home on Saturday after completing their events at the Asian Games.
Home-bound on Philippine Airlines flight were those from fencing, gymnastics, softball, swimming and wushu.
Of the four sports, only wushu contributed to the Philippines’ medal haul with two bronzes—Misses Wong (women’s taijiquan and Taijijian all-around) and Wally (-52 kgs of women’s sanda).
Gold medalist Diaz is set to go home on Tuesday. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo