The growing Philippine Kiteboarding community (and everybody this side of the world, for that matter) couldn’t be any prouder of the youth athletes and the noteworthy strides they have made thus far. However, it could be argued that a handful of them are about to enter the most exciting times of their young careers. Boracay’s Warner Janoya (16), Mark Magliquian (17), Remel Rentillo (16), Christian Tio (16), Frean Yetyet (16), and Romblon’s Maebelle Gajisan (18) are gunning for the top prize at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) qualifiers and hoping to earn the esteemed honor to represent the country on the Olympic stage. The qualifying event will be set in Pak Nam Pran’s sensational shores in Thailand between March 13 and 18.
During this year’s ICTSI Philippine Kiteboarding Tour (Season 5) held in Boracay Island, Malay Aklan last February 9 to 11, My Life on Board caught up with Philippine Kiteboarding Association (PKA) President Jay Ortiz and shared that it’s been a challenging season, especially with the preparation for the Youth Olympic Games. “So far, we’re pretty happy with the results,” said Mr. Ortiz.
Now in its 5th year, the Philippine Kiteboarding Tour has not only help raised awareness with regards to the blossoming local kiteboarding scene, but it has also helped boost sport tourism to an undeniably significant measure. Additionally, it has served as a vehicle to both scout and showcase up-and-coming young Filipino talent and open all sorts of opportunities to them. So, for some of the nation’s brightest beachcombers, their journey towards attaining Olympic gold will be coming off the PKA tour and straight into the qualifiers.
In a separate interview with Philippine Inquirer, Ortiz optimistically reveals that the athletes can more than hold their own and that the odds may very well be tipping in our favor. “I think we are in equal footing with our international competition because height and built are not a major factor. We believe we can dominate the sports in Asia.”
As part of the five events under the sailing category, kiteboarding (men’s and women’s division) has finally been included into the YOG Buenos Aires 2018 sports program happening between October 6 to October 18 in Argentina. For North and South America, Antigua, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Venezuela have already qualified and will be a part of kiteboarding’s historical debut at the YOG. “The Americas” qualifiers took place in the amazing waters of Cabarete, Dominican Republic last January 15 to 20. On the other hand, for Europe and Africa, Italy, Morocco, Slovenia, and South Africa have bagged the spots for the kiteboarders in their group in the qualifiers hosted by Dakhla, Morocco last February 20 to 25. We look forward for a far greater results for our kiteboarders in Thailand for their qualifying match up.
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