HANGZHOU, China —Patrick Coo clinched bronze on Sunday in Chun’an to continue the Philippines medal tradition in BMX racing of cycling in the Asian Games.
Coo’s bronze was the seventh for Team Philippines and it came the morning after Ernest John ‘EJ” Obiena won an expected gold medal in men’s pole vault.
“I’m very happy but hurting for sure,” said the 21-year-old Coo, who scraped the upper part of his right thigh after crashing in the first moto of the 12-cyclist final.
“I ripped my pants in the process and got it fixed immediately.”
Japan’s Asuma Nakai, 23 and juniors bronze medalist in the UCI world championships last year in Nantes (France), won gold, followed very closely by Southeast Asian Games champion Komet Sukpraset of Thailand and Coo.
With Coo’s bronze, the Philippines had a medal in each of the last three Asian Games—Danny Caluag won the country’s one and only gold medal in Incheon 2014 and got bronze in Indonesia five years ago.
Caluag, 36, was in the thick of the race but was shoved to sixth place in the final—he raced still recovering from a broken rib he sustained in training in the US.
Coo, an Olympic Solidarity scholar, felt amazing about his stint in Hangzhou.
“I feel very happy, I went straight to the biggest one, the Asian Games,” said Coo as he thanked Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, who heads PhilCycling.
“This could kick off more major accomplishments for Patrick,” Tolentino said. “He’s only 21, so young, and he’s been training seriously and diligently the past year or so under the Olympic Solidarity program.”
Tolentino said cycling has again confirmed its consistency in contributing a medal in the Asian Games.
“It’s a motivation for PhilCycling to achieve more in the international arena,” he said.
Coo flew in four days ago from Aigle, Switzerland, straight from his UCI World Cycling Center training camp. He had to spend a night in Hangzhou—some 150 kms from Chun’an where the cycling competitions are staged—because he was directed to the main Athletes Village instead of a bus to the cycling venue.
His crash in the first moto on Sunday wasn’t anything unique in Coo. He almost always does, but he’s been trying to correct his mistakes.
“I’m fast and everything, but I get so much adrenalin most of the time. I need to take it step by step, by staying calm more on the bike,” he said.
Coo called his parents in the United States — Benjamin who’s from Iloilo and Romilyn Lag from Cagayan de Oro — minutes after the race.
“They told me to pamper myself when I get back to the Philippines,” said Coo, who stays in Tagaytay City which has the country’s only UCI BMX race track.
“I haven’t eaten rice for the past three months while I was in Switzerland, so time to gorge in Tagaytay,” he said, adding “and a lot of isaw.”