Patrick Coo added to the Philippines’ medal haul in BMX racing at the Asian Games, clinching a well-deserved bronze in Chun’an on Sunday. This achievement follows Ernest John ‘EJ’ Obiena’s anticipated gold in the men’s pole vault, solidifying the country’s presence on the podium.
The 21-year-old Coo, though elated by his victory, bore the physical toll of the race. He suffered a scrape on the upper part of his right thigh during a crash in the first moto of the 12-cyclist final. “I ripped my pants in the process and got it fixed immediately,” he recounted.
Japan’s Asuma Nakai, a 23-year-old junior bronze medalist in the UCI world championships last year in Nantes (France), secured gold. Southeast Asian Games champion Komet Sukpraset of Thailand closely followed, with Coo claiming the bronze.
With Coo’s bronze, the Philippines has now medaled in each of the last three Asian Games. Danny Caluag clinched the country’s sole gold in Incheon 2014 and secured bronze in Indonesia five years ago. Despite battling a broken rib sustained in training, the 36-year-old Caluag competed fiercely, finishing in sixth place in the final.
Coo, an Olympic Solidarity scholar, expressed his elation about his performance in Hangzhou. “I feel very happy, I went straight to the biggest one, the Asian Games,” he stated, extending gratitude to Philippine Olympic Committee president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, who leads PhilCycling.
Tolentino commended Coo’s dedication and highlighted the potential for even greater accomplishments, considering Coo’s young age and rigorous training under the Olympic Solidarity program. He emphasized how cycling has consistently contributed to the country’s medal tally in the Asian Games, motivating PhilCycling to aim for further success on the international stage.
Coo, arriving just four days ago from Aigle, Switzerland, where he underwent training at the UCI World Cycling Center, recounted an adventure en route to Chun’an. A mix-up led him to the main Athletes Village in Hangzhou instead of the cycling venue, requiring an overnight stay.
Despite his crash in the first moto on Sunday, Coo saw it as part of his journey to improvement. He acknowledged his propensity for high adrenaline but emphasized the need for a calmer approach on the bike.
After the race, Coo promptly called his parents in the US, Benjamin from Iloilo, and Romilyn Lag from Cagayan de Oro, who shared words of encouragement and insisted he pamper himself upon returning to the Philippines.
Coo, based in Tagaytay City with the country’s sole UCI BMX race track, eagerly looked forward to indulging in rice and savoring local delicacies, including the beloved “isaw.”