Olympian bags gold for PH in BMX action



(As of 7 pm
of Dec. 19. 2013)

Country        Gold Silver Bronze Total
1. Thailand     80    79     66      225
2. Vietnam      64    60     69      193
3. Myanmar     60    51     56      167
4. Indonesia   54    62     84      200
5. Malaysia      32    33     63      128
6. Singapore             25    24     32       81
7. Philippines  23    27      30      80
8. Laos            9     8       35      52
9. Cambodia    6     8       17      31
10. Brunei        1     1        4        6
11. Timor Leste 1    0        2        3


NAY PYI TAW — For Daniel Caluag, the 27th Southeast Asian Games is just a mere pit stop on his road to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

True enough, he survived it with flying colors.

Afte a failed bid in the 2012 London Games, Caluag came up with a sterling performance as he clinched the gold medal in the men’s BMX cross of the SEA Games Thursday at the Mount Pleasant cycling field here.

Caluag, the only Asian who qualified in the Olympics, was in control right from the start, topping all four qualifying stages in the motocross and individual categories.

In the finals, he clocked 31.994 seconds to claim the gold medal while his younger brother, Christopher, came up with the silver medal with 32.555 seconds. An Indonesian rider in Bagus Saputra wound up third after clearing the 350-meter track in 32.825 seconds.

“It was such an easy race. I had a fantastic performance,” said the 26-year old Chino, California-based rider who is seeing action in the SEA Games for the first time. “I was in control all the way. This is only a Southeast Asian level and I didn’t have a hard time competing”

“The ultimate goal is to make it back to the Olympics. But, of course, there are some minor bumps along the way like the SEA Games and the Asian Games next year. My mission is to overcome all those tournaments and be stronger, more prepared for 2016.”

The son of a respiratory therapist from Bulacan, Caluag, was dominant in the final round, even waiting for his brother to come close while executing a willy down the stretch, much to the delight of the small Filipino crowd led by chief of mission Jeff Tamayo.

He said he waited for his brother in a bid to come up with a rare double-gold-medal finish for Team Philippines.

But the Indonesian rider suddenly emerged, forcing him to cross the line while Christoper checked in second.

“Having a 1-2 finish is just as good as winning two gold medals,” he said. “My brother and I have been working hard in the States for tournaments like this. Our goal is to get better every day.”

“We’ll be back in Asian Games next year. Hopefully, win another gold and silver medals again for the Philippines.”

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