Didal, Wong staying the course amid COVID-19

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By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

GOLD medal-winning athletes Margielyn Didal and Agatha Wong find it a challenge to train amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, but it is not stopping them from staying the course in maintaining their fitnesss.

Guests at the weekend on the Philippine Olympic Committee Webinar series on “Making Smart Food Choices,” hosted by former athlete and now sports official Akiko Thompson, Misses Didal and Wong admitted that COVID-19 has significantly disrupted their training but they are finding ways to get by.

“I’m doing okay. Yes I can’t go out and skate as much as I want to but I have been stretching and trying to maintain my conditioning,” said Ms. Didal, who is currently in her hometown of Cebu City.

“I cannot really skate outside but we try to find ways here at the house. I asked my father to build me ramps at the rooftop for me to practice,” the Asian Games skateboard gold medallist added.

Staying conditioned and finding a balance while working out on her own are also something keeping Ms. Wong busy in their home in Quezon City.

“I’m doing okay. I’m just trying to maintain my body, its condition, since the lockdown started. It’s hard since in lockdown we cannot really train. And I’m just doing as much as I can, strengthen my body and keep my mental health at bay. Finding a balance,” said Ms. Wong, a gold medallist in wushu in last year’s 30th Southeast Asian Games held here.

The national athletes agree that among the challenges while holed up in the house during the pandemic is the tendency to splurge in food and deviate from their usual nutritional habits.

It is something that is completely understandable, said nutrition coach Jeaneth Aro, who was also a guest at the Webinar along with Misses Didal and Wong.

To guard themselves from overdoing such, the athletes said they try to make up for it with the training they put in.

“Here at home the challenge is the tendency to splurge on food. I have been eating a lot, especially rice. Rice is life,” said Ms. Didal with a laugh. “But I’m compensating for it in training. Good thing about skateboarding weight is not much of an issue like in other sports. But you have to maintain a certain level so you can ride well.”

Ms. Didal is currently in the thick of things in qualifying for a spot in the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics and expressed her determination to go for it.

“I don’t know yet when the Olympic qualifiers will resume but those I competed in prior I did well. I think we are in a good position,” she said.

Weight maintenance for Ms. Wong, meanwhile, is not an issue, she said.

“I have been exercising a lot. Waking up early and keeping my routine. In March I weighed 58 kilograms then in April it fell to 54 kg. In May I’m up to 56 kg,” said Ms. Wong.

Adding, “Weight maintenance is not an issue for me but I have days I eat so much and there are days I eat little.”

Moving forward, Misses Didal and Wong said work continues for them in whatever form until some semblance of normalcy in sports here is achieved just as they underscored the need to forging ahead and not losing hope.

“Stay home. Stay safe. Things will get better soon,” said Ms. Didal.

“Let’s keep fighting in this pandemic and never give up,” Ms. Wong, for her part, said.

As of this writing, COVID-19 continues to be a growing concern for the Philippines, with confirmed cases numbering 14,319.