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Martinez tries new routine, pays dearly

Michael Martinez gambled with a new routine and paid dearly for it last Sunday when he failed in his bid for the gold medal in the men’s individual figure skating event of the 29th Southeast Asian Games at the Empire City Arena in Damansara Perdana.

Billed as the top favorite in the event making its SEA Games debut, Martinez settled for the silver with 171.63 points – his lowest tally in international competition – behind hometown bet Julian Yee, who secured the gold medal with 205.43 points.

“Basically this was the first time I was trying out my new program in a competition. This is so far the hardest among all the programs I have ever done,” explained the 2014 Sochi Winter Games veteran. “It usually takes three to four months to master the routine.

“This was the first time I included quads (jumps) in my program so there were still some refinements to do in my transition.”

In contrast, he said “Yee played it safe and did nothing new. That has been his program for one-and-a-half year. Basically what he did was skate, tumalon, skate, tumalon while I introduced a lot of new things in my routine.”

Martinez said the lessons learned here would serve him well when he tweaks his routine in preparation for the Nebelhorn Trophy, an Olympic qualifying tournament, in Germany.

“This tournament will be the first Olympic qualifier to next year’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics,” said Martinez, who placed seventh in the same competition in 2013 that earned him a spot for the Sochi Olympiad. “I would really like to medal this time should I qualify.”

Performing in his first SEA Games, he added, “was a memorable experience which I hope I can repeat two years from now in Manila where I definitely will go out to win the gold.”