Margielyn Didal hopes Asian Games gold will erase skateboarding stigma in PH

Karl Cedrick Basco, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 29 2018 05:40 PM | Updated as of Aug 30 2018 02:46 AM

Margielyn Didal (right) embraces Japanese competitor Kaya Isa in the skateboarding competition in the 2018 Asian Games in Paelmbang, Indonesia on Wednesday. Didal won gold. Edgar Su, Reuters

From the streets of Cebu and mall parking spaces to the top of the podium at the 2018 Asian Games.

Filipina skateboarder Margielyn Didal's journey to the Games gold medal did not come as easy as her victory on Wednesday in Palembang, Indonesia, sharing how she struggled with a lack of support in her hometown. 

In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Didal bared that she used to skate on the streets of her native province and sometimes at vacant mall spaces only to be chased by mall security and police. 

"Sa Cebu, sa streets lang hinahabol kami ng pulis at security 'pag may nakikitang nag-skate," Didal recalled.

Didal even experienced being barred entry into malls, because she had a skateboard in hand.

But it did not hinder her excelling in the sport as she received several sponsorships that enabled her to train outside the Philippines and in the United States.

When in Manila, Didal also capitalized on the public skate park in Paco to practice her routines along with other skateboarders in the metro.

Didal said she is sharing her gold-medal campaign in the Games with all skateboarders in the Philippines. She hopes that her win will open more spaces for athletes such as her to train.

"Itong laban na ito ay for all Filipino athletes and sa lahat ng mga Pilipino especially sa parents ko and all skateboarders ng Pilipinas. Sana magkaroon ng public skatepark around Philippines," Didal said. 

Meanwhile, three weeks before her debut at the Asian Games, Didal emotionally wished that the inclusion of skateboarding as a sport in the quadrennial event will change the negative perception of public to skateboarders.

"For me, [sana] mabigyan ng attention ang skateboarding para mabago naman tingin ng ibang tao sa skateboarding," Didal added.

The 19-year-old pocketed the gold in women's street event in Palembang with 30.4 points, ahead of Japan's Kaya Isa and Indonesia's Bunga Nyimas.

Didal won the fourth gold medal of the Philippines at the Asiad and 17th medal overall. -- with reports from Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News

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