Olympic hopeful Didal training at new skate park

OLYMPIC skateboarding hopeful Margielyn Didal trains in a custom-built facility in Cebu which she herself designed. — RED BULL

OLYMPIC skateboarding hopeful Margielyn Didal’s training continues amid the pandemic as she trains in a custom-built facility in Soul Sierra, Cebu.

One of the Filipino athletes seen to have better chances of making it to the rescheduled Tokyo Games, Ms. Didal, 22, an Asian Games gold medalist, has been sharpening her game in the new skate park in preparation for qualifying tournaments leading to the quadrennial sporting spectacle in July.

The skate park, completed early this year, was designed by Ms. Didal, funded by energy drink maker Red Bull, and supported by the National Skateboarding Association (NSA).

It is geared to augment the training of champion skateboarder Didal and other members of the national skateboarding team amid the limitations, particularly on travel, presented by the pandemic.

The NSA hopes that the facility will keep Ms. Didal in top form as she vies for a spot in the Olympics through the qualifiers in the United States and Europe.

“It’s a great way to efficiently maximize the potential of an athlete. It’s just a great facility to practice in instead of us spending the money and effort to travel to another country,” said NSA President Carl Sambrano.

The facility is inside a Modified General Community Quarantine area, where training is allowed, provided required permission from authorities is given and health and safety protocols are followed.

As to the support given by private entities like Red Bull, Ms. Sambrano said they welcome such, seeing them as going a long way in their push to promote and further grow the sport among the Filipinos.

“These new things that Red Bull brings such as the sport science department, physical therapy, and evaluation of elite athletes is a new thing that the sport of skateboarding has never had before,” said Mr. Sambrano.

The NSA chief vowed to make full use of what is shared to them in dispensing their duties as a local sports federation.

Ms. Didal is currently inside the top 20 skateboarders (No. 14) in the world vying for a place in the Tokyo Olympics where skateboarding will make its debut.

If she gets to maintain the position, or even improve on it, in the qualifiers she earns an Olympic spot as only the top 20 skateboarders in the women’s category get into the Games. “It’s such an honor to be one of the skateboarders to represent the Philippines [if I get in]. I’m really hyped!” said Ms. Didal, also a two-time Southeast Asian gold medalist in 2019. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo