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Speed skater Magno wins 3 golds in Philippine Open

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Filipino-American Kathryn Victory Magno ruled the senior ladies category in 2018 Philippine Open Short Track Speed Skating Championships at the SM Megamall Ice Skating Rink in Mandaluyong City on Thursday.

Magno, who was born to Filipino parents in San Jose, California, bagged three golds (1,500 meters, 1,000 meters and 500 meters) and a silver in the 3,000-meter relay team event with Bea Won Zablan, Lorrine Molly Martinez and Xsandria Viande Guimba.

“I just wanted to do my best. For me, this (tournament) means a lot because it’s the first National Open,” said the 28-year-old Magno, who represented the country in the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan and Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last year.

Magno won three golds (500-m, 1,00m and 1,500m) in the South East Asia Cup in Singapore two years ago. She also bagged three bronze medals in the 2014 Asian Short Track Speed Skating Trophy in Mandaluyong City.

Kevin Villanueva shared the limelight with his mentor after collecting three gold medals coming from the 1,500 meters, 1,000 meters, 500 meters events in the men senior category and another one from the Open 3,000 meters relay team event with Marc Gonzales, Lyle Nikol Cadiz and Ashawi Handjinassif.

“I am so happy for winning and also because I was able to achieve my goal in only one year,” said the 20-year-old Villanueva, a teacher at Sto. Niño School of Muntinlupa City.

The Philippine Open was Villanueva’s second tournament after the Southeast Asia Speed Skating Trophy in Singapore last March. He placed fifth among 11 entries.

Gonzales, the first Filipino to compete in the World Championships in Poland last February, likewise got four golds, including three in the junior B men category where he was entered.

“I felt really proud to represent the Philippines,” said the 16-year-old Gonzales, who was born and raised in New Jersey. He has competed in the Asian Trophy in Bangkok, Thailand and a local tournament in Italy last year.

India’s Prajwal Sharath (junior A men) and Niranjan Rajeev (junior C combined) also won four golds while Hans Matthew Buemio, a grade 5 student at Lourdes School in Mandaluyong City had two golds in the junior D/E combined category.

Meanwhile, Philippine Skating Union (PSU) president Josie Veguillas was happy with the successful staging of the tournament, which will select members for the national speed skating team.

“The tournament was successful because of the cooperation of the speakers, referees, participants and the parents,” said Veguillas, who is also the vice president of the Asian Skating Union (ASU).

Prior to the tournament, the PSU has organized a three-day training camp, conducted by international referee Kelvin Nichol of New Zealand and former national coach of the Australian short track speed skating team coach Maggie Holland.

The camp activities include enhancement of speed and skating skills, on-ice drills, off-ice strengthening and conditioning as well as improvements in balance and skating technique. (PNA)