By Arianne Mallare
Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia – Fil-American rider Daniel Patrick Caluag saved the SEA games medal of the Philippine Cycling team after copping bronze at the men’s BMX cycling finals held on Saturday at the Velodrom Nasional Nilai in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia.
Along with Daniel who wore national tri-colors in the event was his younger brother Christopher John (CJ), wherein they were tested by five other BMXers from Indonesia, Thailand and host Malaysia.
As the starting pistol bust, Daniel gives all his power in the pedal to be the leader in the first 84-meter race. However, Indonesian cyclist Gusti Saputra won’t let Daniel be in the lead, while Thai’s Nonthakon Inkhoksong is the third rider coming in.
In the last 122-meters, Saputra break away. Daniel who was the gold medalist of 2014 Incheon Asian Games was still chasing him on the following upward slopes, followed a Thai.
42-meters before the finish line, it was still a battle for Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand.
Everybody was expecting that silver medal is safe for Daniel, until Inkhoksong poured all his remaining energy to defeat Daniel in the last 15-meters before the finish line.
The 30-year old Caluag finished with bronze medal with the official clocking of 31.283 seconds, .653 second slower compared to silver medalist Inkhoksong, while Saputra got the gold medal with his convincing effort of 30.630 seconds.
Meanwhile, CJ finished 5th, while lone Philippine female rider Sienna Fines settled for 6th place after crashing at the race.
“I’m happy that i am able still to bring a medal, it’s not the color that i want but… showing that the Filipinos could do it, it doesn’t matter where they come from. all walks of life, we got the capability over there.” said caluag in an exclusive interview with PTV sports.
Now, Daniel will take a month break and will continue grinding as he is scheduled for his title defense at the Asian games which will be held in Indonesia next year.
“I’ll take it race by race, i’m excited for it but it’s gonna be in Southeast Asia, you know it’s always nice to represent the Southeast Asia. Everyone thinks that we cannot compete at the world’s best. The mindset that i have is i will always do my best, and my best is hopefully first place.” he disclosed. | Arianne Mallare – PTV Sports