Margielyn Didal’s gold medal is a wakeup call to recognize skateboarding as a sport

August 30, 2018 - 12:54 PM
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Margielyn Didal of the Philippines competes. in the women's skateboarding park event at the 2018 Asian Games in Palembang. (REUTERS/Edgar Su)

Skateboarder Margielyn Didal’s gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games has given the overlooked sport of skateboarding some much-deserved attention.

The 19-year old Didal scored a dominant 30.4 points in the women’s park event at the SkateBoard Stadium in Palembang, Indonesia on Wednesday.

Her closest competitor, Kaya Isa of Japan, managed to put up only 25.0 points. No other contestant managed to score more than 20.

Didal opened with a successful ollie and board slide to bounce to a quick lead over her opponents.

“If we want more medals, let’s support skateboarding,” said Didal in Filipino in media interviews after her event.

Didal’s victory gave the Philippines its fourth gold medal in the Asiad, joining Hidilyn Diaz in weightlifting and Bianca Pagdanganan, Lois Kaye Go and Yuka Saso in golf.

The Philippines’ newest sports heroines have been hailed in recent days for their show of excellence.

 

Didal herself has recognized how a gold medal in a sport like skateboarding is an uncanny feat.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News after her victory, Didal related how police and security guards used to chase her and her friends whenever they would be caught practicing in the streets and in abandoned spaces.

She also recounted being barred from entering a shopping mall just because she was bringing her skateboard along.

“For me, sana mabigyan ng attention ang skateboarding para mabago naman tingin ng ibang tao sa skateboarding,” said Didal during the interview.

The support of MVP Sports and the Philippines’ sports officials, who took note of her previous successes in various competitions, gave her the means to train for the Asiad.

She previously competed in the Street League championships in London and the 2018 X Games in Minneapolis earlier 2018.

Didal, the child of a carpenter father and a street vendor mother, netted P6 million in cash incentives. Her dream of ending the stigma against skateboarding also appears already underway after Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña announced that he would support skateboarding in the city in recognition of her success.

Skateboarding in world sports

Skateboarding over the decades has been criminalized in some jurisdictions in the United States, the country where it originated.

Its growing popularity as a billion-dollar industry in the 21st century led to the creation of more competitions and has recently been recognized as worthy of being part of the world’s major sports meets.

Skateboarding was added to the lineup of events for the 2018 Asian Games as a last minute decision by officials. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will also feature a skateboarding competition for the first time.