Asian Games: High hopes for BMX
INCHEON, Korea—Daniel Caluag knows the weight of his task for the Philippine team in the 17th Asian Games.
Philippine delegation officials talk about him as one of the few brightest hopes to win a gold medal here.
He is entered in cycling’s BMX event, but his record remained as mysterious as it was prior to the London 2012 Olympics when he failed to meet the same expectations placed on him.
He was kept busy pursuing a degree in Nursing in the US. That kept him off the track in the UCI-sanctioned races since May 2013 when he won the Asian championship in Indonesia. As a result, his name does not appear on the UCI’s ranking that was released this month.
But Caluag said he has prepared well enough for the Asian Games by participating in at least three races in Nashville and Texas in the US within the past year.
“I have mentally and physically prepared myself and I am hoping to get things in the right box for the gold medal here,” said Caluag, a ranked BMX rider in the US before agreeing to race for the Philippines in London and in last December’s Myanmar SEA Games where he won gold and his brother Christopher—who is also competing at the Asian Games—clinching the bronze.
“There is such expectation for me to deliver and I am not going to let the Philippines down,” he said.
Caluag checked in at the Athletes Village with Christopher and his coach of two three years Greg Romero. They failed to check the Games track which is a two-hour ride by bus from the Village.
“But I have seen the track on video and it’s just any other track,” Caluag said. “But we’ll get to see it tomorrow [Tuesday] and test the difficulties, perhaps ride it.”
Caluag is clueless on who he will face on Wednesday but stressed he would be ready for anybody. “I’ve learned that guys I’ve raced with are here and we’ll have to set up our game plan for that,” he said.
There are only nine riders racing on Wednesday—two each from the Philippines, China, Japan and Korea and one from Indonesia.
The seeding run is set at 11:30 a.m. while the motos will be at 1:10 p.m., all Korea time.
The Philippine also fielded two riders in cycling’s road events with Mark John Galedo finishing 13th in the time trial and in the 26th group in the road race where young teammate Ronald Oranza wound up with the 11th group.
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