By Lindsay Santos
Photos By Buddy Cunanan
The Philippine National Bobsled, Luge, and Skeleton Association, Inc. (PNBLSA) announced their plans to make Calgary their permanent home base for training as they vie for a spot in the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
In partnership with Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, the Philippine bobsled team aims to send four of their athletes to Calgary next month.
They made the announcement in a press release last month.
“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,” says Buddy Cunanan, the PNBLSA’s founder and president. “We also feel that the operating environment in Canada and the support of the local Filipino community are ideal for the advancement of our team and our long-term objective.”
The first organization of its kind in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia, the PNBLSA was established last winter.
“Personally, I’ve always been intrigued about this sport,” Cunanan says.
The Philippine bobsled team trained for four months in Austria before competing in two-man bobsled competitions in the Europa Cup.
“It was a very rewarding experience given the fact that it was their first experience competing and being in that kind of environment,” Cunanan says.
Philippine Coast Guards (PCG)s Sid Isidro and Jeffrey De la Cruz passed the vetting process, beating out 15 other PCGs to secure the coveted spots on the Philippine bobsled team.
“As Coast Guardsmen, they have the required discipline, strong work ethic, commitment, and they are also highly trained athletes,” Cunanan says.
“In Austria, they were no match for the powerhouse teams but the mere fact that there were no mishaps, injuries, or accidents and that there was a progression because their times kept on improving, I’m proud of them. They performed admirably,”
On behalf of the PNBLSA, Cunanan is calling on the support of the Calgary-Filipino community to take on the role of Kuyas and Ates to help the Philippine bobsled team adapt when they move to Calgary .
“None of us know what to expect in Calgary, so I’d like to reach out to the community to provide mentorship for our athletes while they’re there,” Cunanan says.
“I’m confident that we can accomplish great things with the community’s support.”
Contact Cunanan on WhatsApp at +63-922-842-5665 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on what you can do to support the PNBLSA.
For updates, follow their Facebook page under The Philippine National Bobsled, Luge, and Skeleton Association.