Caluag is last Pinoy standing

BMX rider hoping to make semis

This is the second time that BMX is making an appearance as a medal event in the Olympic games.  This thrilling extreme sport is all about which rider can negotiate a quarter mile long course that features different types of obstacles in the fastest possible time.

In the field of 32 riders, there’s only one Asian who’s competing.  Filipino-American Daniel Caluag is hoping to be amongst the top contenders. 

He was the first one to be tested and though an indicator on the level of competition, Caluag’s 40.9-second clocking in the seeding round is not conclusive of his fate in the game.  He came out at the bottom of the field till Latvia’s Edzus Treimanis registered a DNF (did not finish).  That was merely the seeding to determine how the heats would be.  He might have opted for a more cautious run to prevent injuries or spills.

The 32 riders will be divided into four quarterfinals heats.  The top four finishers in each heat then move up to the next level. 

Those 16 riders will then be split into two semifinal groups.  The top 8 from the semis will compete in the finals.

In Beijing, Latvian rider Maris Strombergs’ 36.19-second run got him the first BMX Olympic gold medal.
Americans Mike Day and Donny Robinson took home the silver and bronze respectively.

For tomorrow’s quarterfinals heats set at 3pm in London, 10pm in Manila, Caluag will be on heat number 3.  He has been seeded with three riders who landed in the top 10 from the seedings.  France’s Joris Daudet who got a 38.221 and was ranked second , seventh seeded Nicolas Long from the USA who clocked in at 38.601, and Mark Willers from New Zealand who had a 38.687 which ranked him 10th.

Daudet is ranked third in the world while Willers is fourth.

Others in Caluag’s heat are USA’s David Herman who is ranked 15th with a 38.955, Manuel de Vechi from Italy who got a 39.385 good for 18th, Roger Rinderknecht from Switzerland who’s ranked 23rd with a 39.618, and Argentina’s Ernesto Pizzaro who landed on 26th place with his 39.765 result.

Caluag has a strong chance of moving on to the semis.  His wife, BMX US champion Stephanie Barragan-Caluag, not only is giving moral support but also accompanies a team of advisors calculating and overseeing the needs of this Pinoy rider.
He’s the country’s last hope for an Olympic medal in London. 


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