BELIEVE it or not, but the Philippines has a bobsled team.

The Philippine National Bobsled Luge and Skeleton Association Inc. (PNBLSA) is fielding two two-man bobsled teams to the Alberta Cup Provincial Championship set next month in Canada.

According to PNBLSA President and Chief Executive Officer Thelmo Cunanan Jr., the association is the first organization of its kind in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia and is recognized by the Philippines Sports Commission.

The Filipino bobsledders are members of the Philippine Coast Guard, the official partner-organization of the PNBLSA. The two bodies signed a memorandum of agreement in September to develop the sport. The PCG supplies the PNBLSA with athletes for local and overseas training programs.

The Filipino bobsledders are Seamen First Class Rolando Isidro Jr., Jerby Deriada and Joseph Acosta, and Seaman Second Class Jeffrey de la Cruz.

The Alberta Cup is organized by the Alberta Bobsleigh Association (ABA). There, the Filipino bobsledders will race against some of the best North American and international teams.

“We are looking forward to the Alberta Cup. This is the team’s first foray in North America and it will give our athletes more experience in the sport,” Cunanan said.

“We have two teams this year with powerful and experienced athletes, so I believe our chances of performing well in the competition are good,” he added.

The PNBLSA is entering into a strategic partnership with the ABA, for the training of Filipino bobsledders, with the objective of making Calgary the team’s permanent home base. Last winter, two PNBLSA athletes trained in Innsbruck, Austria, for four months and competed in bobsled derbies in the Europa Cup (as guest racers) and Tirol Cup.

Explaining the move to Calgary, Cunanan, the country’s consul to Canada, highlighted the excellence of Canada’s winter sports program, the familiarity of the medium of instruction (English) and the support of the ABA and the Filipino-Canadian community.

“We are very excited to make Calgary our team’s new home as we admire Canadian bobsledders and their instructors who have greatly distinguished themselves. We also feel that the operating environment in Canada and the support of the ABA and the local Filipino community are ideal for the advancement of our team and our long-term objectives,” he said.

The ultimate goal of the team is to qualify for the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.

“We’ve already made the first steps. We are officially the first Filipino and Asean bobsled team. We’re confident that we can accomplish great things with the help and support of our friends and Filipino brothers and sisters in Canada,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to represent the Philippines in Beijing in 2022.”

The team is backed by San Miguel Corp.




Date: January 4, 2019 | Newspaper: Business Mirror | Source: