Julian Macaraeg finishes last in world short track speed skating

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 6) — Filipino speed skater Julian Macaraeg finished last in three events at the 2021 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships Friday in Dordrecht, Netherlands.

Macaraeg, ranked 137 in the world, led the first lap and finished second in the next lap in the 500-meter event heats.

But his slipped in the final lap caused him to finish last at 55.305 seconds, behind heat winner world no. 19 Itzhak De Laat of Netherlands (41.125), Israel's Vladislav Bykanov (41.383), and Germany's Adrian Luedtke (41.475) who all qualified for the next round.

In the 1,000-meter event heats, Macaraeg suffered another slip after making a turn in the sixth lap which resulted in another last place finish, clocking in one minute and 49.054 seconds.

He was 12 seconds behind heat winner and world no. 24 Stijin Desmet of Belarus (1:30.608) and Italy's Yuri Confortola (1:30.838), who advanced to the quarterfinals among five athletes in the heat.

The 17-year-old Macaraeg also fell short in the 1,500-meter event quarterfinals, finishing last with two minutes and 24.939 seconds. De Laat again topped the pool with 2:22.087 as he joined compatriot Sjinkie Knegt (2:22.350) and Latvia's Reinis Berzins (2:22.510) in the semifinals.

Macaraeg will compete again in heats to determine his final standing in the tournament.

Macaraeg is the only Filipino and one of only two athletes from tropical countries competing in the world championships, alongside Akash Aradhya of India. He was also one of two Filipino athletes in the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics, where he bagged a quarterfinal finish in the boys 500-meter event and a semifinalist in the mixed-National Olympic Committee team relay event.