By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
APART from making history as one of the first to win medals in skateboarding in the Southeast Asian Games, Filipino skateboarder Margielyn Didal looks as well at the inclusion of the sport in the biennial regional sporting meet as a good chance to further cultivate the skateboard scene in the region, particularly here in the Philippines.
One of 10 sports making its debut in the Games this year here, skateboarding action begins today at the newly built Tagaytay Skate Park in Cavite.
Ms. Didal, an Asian Games gold medallist, will lead Team Philippines’ campaign in the competition happening until Dec. 8.
Beyond the hardware up for grabs, however, Ms. Didal said skateboard in the Games would go a long way in bringing the sport to the fore and to more people.
“This is big for the skateboarding scene here to have the sport in the SEA Games. The scene here is already big but this takes it to another level towards having it accepted more,” said Ms. Didal in an interview.
“There is a facility now in Tagaytay where the competition will be held and hopefully it’s the first of many to be built in different parts of the country for skateboarders to use. Hopefully from these places will come future world champions,” she added.
Zeroing in on the competition, the Cebu native, who will be competing in the women’s street and game of skate categories, said she is confident of her chances, backed by the experience and training she has had both here and abroad.
“I think I have a good chance especially in my category but I’m not leaving anything to chance. I will go out there and give my best to make the country proud,” said Ms. Didal, who also underscored the big help that private sponsors like Red Bull have given her in her journey.
Energy drink maker Red Bull has added her in its roster of athletes it supports from different sports worldwide.
As to playing in front of the hometown fans, 20-year-old Didal said she is very excited and looking forward to the support of the local fans for her and the rest of the Philippine skateboarding team.
“We’ll try our best to win the gold. It’s an advantage for us because it’s our homecourt. We got the support of the fans. We’ve competing in different parts of the world but the vibe there is different,” said Ms. Didal.
In the lead-up to the SEA Games, Ms. Didal trained and competed in Los Angeles and Brazil as well as in Cebu before heading to Manila.
She is also set to join other events following the SEA Games to earn the needed points to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics next year.