BMX freestyle cycling maybe a new sport in the country, but the Filipinos have a very good chance of making it all the way to the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Newly-crowned Colorado BMX flatland freestyle champion Renz Viaje said he is willing to take the long and difficult road to stardom if given the opportunity.
“BMX freestyle cycling is another sport where Filipinos can excel. We have what it takes to be world champions,” said Viaje during the 16th “Usapang Sports on Air” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom last Oct. 15.
“With the proper training and good international exposure, the Filipino BMX freestyle riders can do very well even against the best in the world,” added Viaje, who already made the country proud by winning the BMX online flatland freestyle event in the 2020 American Flatland Association Championships in Colorado.
Viaje claimed BMX flatland freestyle cycling is suited for the Filipinos since it is one sport that does not require height and heft.
“BMX flatland freestyle cycling is breakdancing on the bike. Parang X-Games. You have to be imaginative and willing to takes a lot of risks,” explained Viaje during the weekly public service program sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
Viaje said there now plans to include his event — BMX flatland freestyle cycling — in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“We still don’t know if BMX flatland freestyle cycling will be included in the 2021 Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam,” said Viaje.
“Inaalam pa po ng NSA namin (PhilCycling) kung maglalagay po ba sila pero pinu-push po namin yung BMX kasi malaki ang potential natin, na manalo dito basta makakapaghanda ng mabuti.”
On a personal note, Viaje said he is training hard regardless of the SEAG Federation decision to include or not include BMX freestyle cling in Vietnam next year.
“Luckily, meron na po ako private practice area sa aking bahay sa Marikina kaya tuloy lang ang ensayo. Meron nang indoor at outdoor spot kaya sigurado maganda ang magiging resulta nito,” explained Viaje.
“Last year, sa street lang po kami nagpa-practice, gaya ng mga empty parking lots sa Makati. Kadalasan sa gabi kapag sarado na ang mga establishments.”
Viaje also said the coronavirus pandemic has also affected BMX freestyle cycling competitions.
“Sa ngayon, puro mga international online events lang muna ang ginagawa nila this year. Ang lahat ng world events ay ginawa na din munang mga ng online competitions, gaya nun sinalihan at napanalunan ko sa Colorado.”
Asked about his plans to compete abroad next year, Viaje said:
“Hopefully, maka-join ako sa mga malaking international competitions next year. Ang pinakamalaking event na magaganap ay yung sa FISE or International Festival of Extreme Sports, na ino-organize sa France. Dinadayo po talaga ito ng iba’t ibang bansa, gaya ng USA, China at mga bansa sa Europe.”
Added Viaje: “Actually, hindi na X-Games ngayon ang major event sa mga extreme sports. May organization (FISE) din na gumagawa ng events worldwide.”
“Yun mga FISE qualifying events sa bawat continents, pinagsasama-sama ang mga points para mag-qualify sa Olympics. Actually, ang BMX freestyle ay part na rin sa Tokyo Olympics.”
Viaje said the biggest problem of the Filipinos is the limited BMX cycling parks where even regular riders can train.
“Sa Australia, US or sa Europe, meron silang libo-libong BMX parks.Tayo iilang BMX parks lang, gaya sa Tagaytay na kakatayo lang last SEA Games. I heard may mga bagong terrain para sa mga riders in Bohol. Sana madagdagan pa,” explained Viaje.
He said there are a lot of young BMX riders from 15-24 years old who can be tapped to represent the country.
“Malaki ang chance ng mga batang ito, basta ma-suportahan lang ng maaga at makasali sa mga competitions to gain experience,” he said.
On his adjustments in competing in online competitions, like taking videos and performing new tricks:
“Medyo di pa kami masyado sanay na kumukuha ng video sa competition. Pero sa tingin ko, mas madali mag-entry ng routine or combo kasi pwede ulit-ulitin unlike sa actual competitions na one shot lang or within three minutes kailangan mo gawin ang best mo. Di ka pwede magkamali.
“Personally, sa tingin ko may advantage sa online competition kasi lahat ng mahihirap at technical tricks na kaya natin gawin ay pwede natin ipakita. So yun ang naging advantage kumpara sa ibang countries.”