PH skateboarding chief confident of Didal's slot in Tokyo Games

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 02 2021 05:20 PM

Margielyn Didal celebrates after winning the gold medal in the 2019 SEA Games. File photo. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines -- With 143 days to go before the Tokyo Olympics officially opens, the head of the country's skateboarding federation is confident that Margielyn Didal will secure her qualification to the Summer Games.

Skateboarding is set to make its debut in the Olympics in Tokyo, and the Philippines is pinning its hopes on Didal after the Cebuana's superb performances in the 2018 Asian Games and the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

According to Carl Sambrano, president of the Skateboarding and Roller Sports Association of the Philippines, they expect Didal to qualify based on her Olympic world skate rankings.

"With regards to qualifying, Top 20 naman po 'yung pasok. So if the Olympics started, say, tomorrow, Margie would be in," Sambrano said during an appearance on the "PSC Hour" recently.

Didal, who won gold in the women's street events in the Asiad in 2018, is currently ranked 14th in the world.

The qualifying period for the Tokyo Olympics is until June 29, with skaters earning points through their participation in different events. However, two qualifiers have already been cancelled, and Sambrano expects the third to be similarly scrapped because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nonetheless, he is confident that Didal is doing enough to maintain her place in the rankings and thus qualify for the Games.

"Kampante naman ako sa kung anong numero ko ngayon sa world rankings," Didal said. "But if I could compete or make it better, it would be good. But, I'm good sa number ko ngayon 'pag nag-Olympics."

Sambrano noted that Didal has been doing well in online events, even though her training remains limited due to the pandemic. 

Their plan is for the 21-year-old star to go on a training camp outside the Philippines ahead of the Games, to help her prepare for the competition. 

"We're really excited to prepare, to show what Margie can do in the Olympics," he said. "Given na na-compete si Margie ng Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games, and she did deliver."

"I'm not saying that we're confident, but I'm saying that Margie is used to competing for the Philippines, for her country," he added.

There are four skateboarding events in the Tokyo Games: men's and women's park, and men's and women's street. Twenty skateboarders will qualify to each event, with the host country taking one slot. 

According to the original qualifying process, three quota spots will be awarded via the world championships, while the remaining 16 will be given via the world Olympic rankings.

Four Filipinos are already qualified to the Games: pole vaulter EJ Obiena, boxers Irish Magno and Eumir Marcial, and gymnast Caloy Yulo.

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