LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu – Cebuana skateboarder and Asian Games Gold medalist Margielyn Didal arrived in her hometown on Tuesday afternoon.
An emotional Didal was welcomed by her parents and supporters at the Mactan International Airport.
The 19-year old dedicated her Asian Games victory to her parents, saying it was a way to thank them for the support they continue to give her.
Didal’s mother Julie told ABS-CBN News that it was not an easy decision for them to support their daughter in her chosen sport.
She narrated that when her daughter was 12, she used to sneak out of their small stall just to rent a skateboard for P50.
She also did not expect for Margielyn to come this far.
Margielyn, however, revealed that she was confident of winning a gold medal in the competition. And indeed, Didal secured the Philippines’ fourth gold medal in the Asian Games.
After the Asian Games, Didal hopes to compete in the 2010 Tokyo Olympics and continue to promote the sport.
The Barangay Lahug, Cebu City native is also hoping for a skatepark in the city for people like her who want to hone their skills in the sport.
On the other hand, from being chased by security guards in Cebu City for skateboarding along the streets, Didal is now set to get plenty of help as she pursues her goal of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
The 19-year-old Didal still remembers how they would be chased by police whenever they used their skateboards in Cebu.
“Minsan, ’pag nasa mall, ’pag may hawak na skateboard, bawal nang pumasok,” she also recalled.
Everything has changed for Didal, however, now that she won a gold medal for the Philippines in the women’s street event of skateboarding in the 2018 Asian Games.
Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña has promised to build a skate park in their city, and welcomed Didal’s output on it.
“Nadinig ko nga po ’yun,” Didal said of the plans made by the mayor of her hometown. “Sobrang happy ko po, hindi lang para sa akin pero para sa lahat ng Cebu skaters.”
Osmeña is just one of many prospective backers to have reached out and offered help for Didal, whose next order of business is to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
Qualification to the Games will be based on the World Skateboarding Rankings, with athletes earning points by competing in events sanctioned by World Skate, the officially recognized world-governing body for skateboarding and roller sports. The qualification period is from January 1, 2019 to May 20, 2020.
As host, Japan is already assured of one spot in each of the four skateboarding events, while the top three finishers in the world skateboard championships immediately before the Olympics will earn tickets to Tokyo.
Didal and the other Olympic skateboarding hopefuls from all over the world will have their first crack at earning qualifying points in the Street League Skateboarding world championships in Rio de Janeiro, in January.
“Kailangan po natin ng participation sa every event,” said Didal. “Especially sa SLS (Street League Skateboarding) na napuntahan ko last May.”
“May X-Games, and lahat ng X-Games dapat salihan, kasi for skateboarding and roller sportsyun ang ticket for slots para sa Tokyo Olympics,” she added.
Given the number of competitions that she has to join on the road to Tokyo, Didal is thrilled to have been promised help by several sectors.
“Ang dami pong support, and especially ngayon, ang daming offer,” she said. “Especially MVPSF (MVP Sports Foundation).”
Didal will compete in an all-woman speed skate event in San Diego, Calif., later this year, before bracing for the first qualifying event in Rio de Janeiro.