By Steve Angeles
Dec. 17, 2013
CARSON, Calif. – Filipinos in Southern California’s South Bay got the chance to exercise with an Olympic athlete.
Led by Dance Time Zumba instructor Nonie Bellarmino, Filipino Zumba enthusiasts held a fundraiser for Winter Olympic-bound figure skater Michael Martinez.
“I’m very happy because they’ve been supporting me for so long,” Martinez said. “Since the first 2012 Junior Olympics, they’ve been supporting me.”
Martinez is the fourth Filipino to represent the Philippines in the history of the Winter Olympics and the first to do it as a figure skater.
Despite the rare feat, he hasn’t had much financial support from the Philippine government, in a sport that requires many expenses.
On a recent return trip home, he had a chance to meet with Senator Bam Aquino to talk about his lack of a budget.
“He said he will try to help me get support,” Martinez said.
“With the kind of talent Michael has we really need to support in every way we can because this kind of sport is really expensive,” Bellarmino said.
While Asia’s Golden boy of figure skating is a master on the ice, he’s started taking up Zumba, as well, in his spare time.
“It’s a good exercise to release stress,” he said.
The Zumbathon raised over $1,200 of much needed funds that will help Martinez resume the final leg of his US-based training before heading to Sochi Russia in February for the Winter Games.
You can contact Steve Angeles at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.