MANILA – Mountain biker Lea Denise Belgira’s participation in the women’s event of the 2018 Asian Games remains doubtful.
The Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines, or Philcycling, was still seeking the accreditation of the Guimaras native more than a week before the games start in Indonesia.
Belgira, a gold medal winner during the 2017 Asian Mountain Bike Series in Malaysia, was a last-minute addition to the Philippine team after veteran Marella Salamat pulled out.
Philcycling president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino told Sports Radio 918 that they were still pursuing Belgira’s accreditation before the Indonesia Asian Games 2018 Organizing Committee (INASGOC).
“We are appealing to Marella na baka magbago ang isip niya since siya pa din ang nakalist sa INASGOC,” said Tolentino.
“We are hopeful naman that Belgira will be accredited since it was the INASGOC who requested her participation due to the lack of participants in the mountain bike downhill event,” he added.
Salamat, the 2015 Southeast Asian Games Individual Time Trial champion, failed to get a permit from the University of the East where she is taking up dentistry.
Meanwhile Tolentino revealed that BMX rider Daniel Caluag changed his mind and decided to participate in the Asian Games after settling the issue with his travel expense.
The Philcycling official said they will also push for Caluag – the lone gold medal winner for Team Philippines in the 2014 Asian Games – to be the delegation’s flag-bearer.
Tolentino said they wanted to “recognize his (Caluag) achievement (during the 2014 Asian Games) since siya lamang ang nag-deliver ng gold.”/PN