Philippines to set tryouts to seek out new “Margielyn Didal”

MANILA, March 7 (Xinhua) — The Skateboarding and Roller Sports Association of the Philippines is setting up tryouts to find potential skateboarders who can be the next Asian Games winner Margielyn Didal.

Philippine skateboarding chief Monty Mendigoria, in a report from local media on Thursday, said they recently accredited 12 new judges and referees under Asian Extreme Sports Federation technical director Warren Stuart.

According to Mendigoria, the association is scheduled to hold a series of nationwide tryouts beginning with the Luzon event in the Northern Philippines on March 16 and 17, before going to Didal’s hometown in Cebu for the Visayas event in the Central Philippines on April 6 and 7.

The Mindanao event in the Southern Philippines is scheduled on May 25 and 26 in General Santos City before the national championships in August.

“We are laying down the foundation to discover and produce more talents like Didal,” said Mendigoria.

Didal, the 19-year-old Filipino who just titled as the Philippine Sportswriters Association Athlete of the Year last week, won the fourth gold for the Philippines at the 2018 Asian Games in the women’s street skateboarding event.

Didal said the perception of skateboarding has changed in the country since she snatched gold in the Asian Games.

“There are huge improvements and support,” she said.

The world’s 14th-ranked skateboarder now may have two chances at the Olympic gold medal.

“I’m more focused on achieving the target and excited to qualify in both Olympics (2020 Tokyo and 2024 Paris),” Didal said.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has listed skateboarding as a regular event in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The Organizing Committee for the 2024 Paris Olympics also announced recently that it will propose four sports, including skateboarding, to the Games, which is pending for validation by the IOC.

To secure her ticket, she has to participate in a series of Olympic qualifying trips with the sponsorship from “Go For Gold Philippines” program.

Four more tournaments in Britain, United States, China and Japan offer ranking points for the world’s top 60 female skateboarders who are seeking one of 38 slots available in the Olympics.

“We can earn it (the ticket), but I don’t want to be complacent,” Didal added.