The Go For Gold Cycling Team is ready to represent the Philippines at the renowned Tour de DMZ International Road Cycling event in South Korea. This dynamic team is enlisting top junior riders from across the nation: Kien Ebojo from Laguna, John Arwin Velasco from Batangas, Samstill Mamites from Cebu, John Paul Escubine from Nueva Ecija, Justhene Navaluna, and Mac BJ Arellano from Ilocos. These young athletes are gearing up for intense competition in a challenging five-stage, 532-kilometer bikathon set against the backdrop of the Korean border.
Inspired by the accomplishments of 17-year-old mountain bike (MTB) prodigy John Andre Aguja, who recently triumphed at the 2023 Thailand Mountain Bike Cup and the 2023 Coupe de Japon MTB Yawatahama in Japan, Go For Gold has adopted a similar developmental approach for its young cyclists. Jeremy Go, the visionary founder of Go For Gold, highlighted the program’s successes in mountain biking and expressed confidence about replicating triumphs in road racing.
Heading into this international endeavor, the eight-member Philippine squad embarked for Ganghwa, South Korea, three days ahead of the race’s start. These riders, who have consistently showcased their abilities on Southeast Asian platforms, are prepared to face the challenge of the sixth edition of the Tour de DMZ. This prestigious event, a Men Junior Nations Cup sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), unfolds against the backdrop of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), symbolizing the border between the two Koreas. This year’s race holds special significance as it marks the 70th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice under the theme “70 years of DMZ, Beyond the Border into the Future.”
Jeremy Go extended his gratitude to PhilCycling and POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, along with PhilCycling secretary general Atty. Billy Sumagui, for their unwavering support of the developmental program. He welcomed junior riders from all corners of the Philippines, highlighting the belief that hidden talents can emerge from anywhere. Go For Gold, a sports scratch card brand under Powerball Marketing and Logistics Corporation’s Scratchit, remains dedicated to bolstering Filipino athletes with international potential. The program, extending its support beyond cycling, encompasses various sports such as triathlon, sepak takraw, wrestling, dragonboat racing, skateboarding, chess, basketball, and volleyball, among others.
With confidence in the capabilities of the six Filipino junior riders, Go is optimistic about their prowess in sprints and uphill challenges. As they prepare for the competition, adapting to the Korean weather poses a notable challenge. With temperatures hovering around 22-23 degrees Celsius, akin to the climate of Baguio, Go remains hopeful, despite the scouting report indicating rainfall in the area. With three days to acclimate and prepare, Go For Gold’s contingent is set to make a mark at the Tour de DMZ, embodying the spirit of dedication, excellence, and national pride.