FILIPINO-AMERICAN bicycle motocross (BMX) racer Patrick Coo is currently preparing to make a push for his Olympic dream.
The 19-year-old Coo, who is based in Bellflower, California, is set to compete at the UCI BMX World Cup 2021 in Colombia from May 29-30 where he hopes to earn qualification for the rescheduled Tokyo Games later this year.
He needs to finish at least in fourth place in the Bogota qualifier to book a spot in the Olympics.
The opportunity given him has Mr. Coo very excited and honored and that he is looking to get the best possible result in the qualifiers.
“I am proud to be racing for the Philippines. It has been a dream,” said the 2019 Asian Juniors BMX Championship champion and Team Philippines member. “I’m training really hard.”
For added inspiration, he is taking to heart the advice of BMX Olympian Daniel Caluag, who represented the country in the 2012 Summer Games in London.
“Danny has always been a great man and inspiration to me. He is my biggest motivation. After watching him in the 2012 Olympics, it is something that I also want to do, put our country on the map,” he said.
Adding, “Danny always told me to ride for fun and raise my heart out and that’s all that matters.”
Mr. Caluag was a no-go for the qualifiers because of his job as a frontliner nurse in the United States.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Sports Commission is rallying behind Mr. Coo’s Olympic push, providing almost P1.2-million financial assistance for his campaign in Colombia.
It also approved additional funding of P321,298 to cover the airfare, accommodation, allowance, visa fee, insurance, COVID swab test, and entry fee of Mr. Coo’s entourage along with national coaches Ednalyn Hualda and Frederick Farr.
“We have a lot of talented Filipino cyclists and one of them is our teenage BMX cyclist Patrick Coo. We are counting on him,” said PSC Chairman William Ramirez. “Patrick has a lot of potential, not only for this year but in the next Olympic cycle in Paris, France.”
In Bogota, Mr. Coo said he is expecting a very tough competition, but he is not allowing it to distract him in seeing through his goals.
“Dreams don’t work unless you work for it. We’re chasing the dream right now and the dream is the goal. I’ll do my best and hopefully, I’ll make it to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics,” he said.
If he does qualify, Mr. Coo will be joining eight other Filipino athletes who have already qualified for the Olympic Games in Tokyo to date, namely; pole-vaulter EJ Obiena, gymnast Caloy Yulo, boxers Eumir Felix Marcial, Irish Magno, Nesthy Petecio, and Carlo Paalam; weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, and rower Cris Nievarez. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo