With skateboarding getting popular and more accepted worldwide, Margielyn Didal hopes that interest in the sport will pick up when the lockdowns and fears on the spread of the coronavirus pandemic have gone down.
“Skateboarding is big already. It’s been growing for the last nine years. Mas lalaki na ito, lalo na nasa Olympics na,” said Didal via web conference a week after her return to the country from the Tokyo Olympics.
In the Philippines, skateboarding has been looked at as a sport that belongs to the “tambay” or individuals, who love to loiter around and do nothing productive.
But for the 22-year-old Didal, this perception will most likely change after she competed in the Olympic women’s street event advanced to the finals and placed 7th afterwards.
Young athletes from Japan dominated the Tokyo Olympics, winning all three gold medals at stake in the skateboarding competitions that debuted during the Games.
The latest was 19-year-old Sakura Yosozumi, who claimed gold on Wednesday in the women’s park skateboarding final.
Last week, it was 22-year-old Japanese athlete Yuto Horigome, who won the first gold medal in the men’s street skateboarding competition.
Then, there’s 13-year-old Momiji Nishiya, who won the gold in the women’s street skateboarding competition.
Nishiya prevailed in what turned out to be a battle among 13-year-olds with Brazilian Rayssa Leal in the finals.
“I hope so,” said Didal when asked if there is a future for the sport in the Philippines.”Nakita na natin na may chance tayo sa skateboarding sa Olympics.”Didal said she enjoyed competing with younger athletes during the Olympics, hoping that a younger generation of Filipino athletes will soon pick up after her.
Now, preparations are in order for her next international competitions.
But first, she will spend a few weeks resting from minor injuries she sustained during her Olympic campaign.
Once she regains her strength, Didal is set to be in the Street League in Salt Lake City, Utah at the end of August.
“The Olympics in Paris is the next goal, but now we’re focused on making sure Margie recovers and gets to compete at all the upcoming qualifying events,” said coach Danilo Bautista.