Champion rider Ariana Dormitorio hopes to score a twin-kill by the second half of the year.
The charming 22-year-old is seeking to earn an outright berth in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when she competes in the Asian Mountain Bike Continental Championship in Lebanon, before she caps 2019 by going for the gold in her first-ever stint in the Southeast Asian Games to be held in the country.
“This will be a very crucial year because all of the things that we’ve really worked hard for, Heto na ‘yun—the final stretch to get there. We’re really looking forward to the Olympic qualifying, and especially din sa SEA Games kasi it’s going to be the first in my career,” said Dormitorio, who made her first appearance in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday at the Amelie Hotel-Manila.
First off her bucket list is the Olympic qualifier in Lebanon slated July 25 to 28 as winning the gold medal will earn her a slot as the first-ever Filipina cyclist to compete in the Summer Games.
Dormitorio will be up against the same riders from around the region whom she faced during the Asian Games last year in Indonesia. The Filipina was favored to win the gold in the mountain bike event, but suffered a crash in the second lap of the five-lap race to bow out of the medal race.
The three-time former Asian Mountainbike Series champion knows it won’t be easy, but actually likes her chances based on the way he raced in the Asiad against top riders from China, Japan, Iran, and Kazakhstan.
“I was able to compete against those top athletes, and to be honest, I was surprised with how my race went before I crashed,” she said in the session presented by San Miguel Corp. Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation. “I’m confident naman din that somehow I really have a fighting chance to win the gold in the upcoming Asian Continental Championship.”
Dormitorio will be competing in a UCI-sanctioned meet in Japan next month as part of her preparation for the Lebanon bikefest.
And then, there’s the SEA Games.
Although admitting there is pressure on her part racing in front of her countrymen for the very first time, the eloquent rider said the goal is definitely to win the gold.
“My goal in the SEA Games is to win the gold, and I’m happy that somehow, I am regularly competing against those riders from Southeast Asia, so more or less, I am already very familiar with them,” she said.
Dormitorio, who trained in the UCI Training Center in Switzerland recently, mentioned Thailand as her biggest rival in the mountain bike event to be held in Tagaytay City.
Mountain bike will be the first to be held in the SEA Games slated Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.
“I’m really looking forward sa SEA Games kasi home-court siya and I’ll really take advantage of it,” said Dormitorio.
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