Published in Phil Daily Inquirer Newspaper on Feb. 4, 2012 Sat. issue
A SMART-Philippine squad brimming with youthful talent will vie for honors in the 32nd Asian Cycling Championships and 19th Asian Youth Championships from Feb. 8 to 18 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Rustom Lim, 19, who won a road race bronze medal in last year's Asian Youth bikefest in Bangkok, Thailand, will spearhead the Under-23 squad that also includes another promising 19-year-old, George Oconer, son of former Olympian and Tour veteran Norberto Oconer.
Both Lim and Oconer will be competing in the track events, and will be joined by Rudy Ruque and Gerald Mendoza in the road race.
The lone track bet in the junior division is 17-year-old Ryan Bravo, who will team up with Ronald Lomotos and Igi Maximo in the road competition.
The under-23 quartet of Lim, Oconer, Roque and Mendoza looms as the dark horse that may pull-off a surprise in the road contest, according to head coach Cesar Lobramonte.
"We want to bring youthful riders to Malaysia since we believe that they are our future cycling stars who will evetually make their mark in overseas competitions," said PhilCycling president and Tagaytay City Mayor Bambol Tolentino shortly after the national team paid a recent courtesy call on Smart Chief Wireless Advisor Orlando Vera.
We welcome the opportunity to support the national cycling team, especially these young riders whom we expect to give their all against Asia's best to bring honor and glory to our country," Vera, for his part, said.