SEA Games: Skateboarder lambasts unprofessional federation, but still wants to compete

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 25 2019 07:08 PM

MANILA—Filipina skateboarder Arianne Mae "Kiddo" Trinidad criticized the unprofessional manner by which she was removed from the national team, but expressed her willingness to represent the country in the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games).

Trinidad bared on Facebook on Monday morning that she was kicked out of the national team after making critical comments about the Skateboarding and Roller Sports Association of the Philippines Inc. (SRSA).

Speaking to ABS-CBN News, Trinidad said she qualified to the national team after winning in the nationals back in July, and was even welcomed to the squad by SRSA President Monty Mendigoria after she appeared on Sports U in August.

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"Si Monty, their president, siya na ang nag-welcome sa akin, kasi na-expose na ako," Trinidad said.

Trinidad said she gave the federation all the necessary information, and continued training for the SEA Games despite not receiving any allowance.

"Hindi ako nagsalita, tuloy ang training ko," she said.

It was not until a fellow national team player broke her silence that Trinidad felt the need to speak up as well. Karla Robelo, a longboarder, bared that she had not been getting any support or even updates from the SRSA regarding the SEA Games. In response, she was kicked out of the national team's Facebook group chat.

"Sinuportahan ko siya, kasi same situation ako. Wala akong hawak na assurance or any proof or document na panghahawakan ko talaga as a Philippine team member," said Trinidad.

Trinidad went on a radio show to air her grievances against the federation. In response, she too was kicked out of their Facebook group chat.

This, she said, was how she was removed from the national team.

"As in, wala pong formal letter, napaka-unprofessional," she said. "Wala, as in wala po."

Trinidad said she and her teammates, Robelo and CL Paje, were replaced in the national team by the federation's handpicked skaters—players that they already beat in the nationals.

"Iha-handpick mo, 'yun ngang natalo, sila pa ang lalaban," she said. "Sinasabi nila na best skater, eh natalo nga namin 'yung mga bata nila."

She was removed from the group chat in late October, said Trinidad, but they could not fully remove her from the national team. Trinidad's name still appears on the list of athletes who will represent the Philippines in the skateboarding event in the SEA Games.

"Sa pagkakaalam ko, wala na ako sa team," said Trinidad. "Pero hindi nila sinasabi sa akin na 'yung pangalan ko, hindi nila maalis. Kasi, POC (Philippine Olympic Committee) lang ang may karapatan mag-alis sa akin."

"They don't have any valid reason to remove me from the team," she stressed.

The federation called her last week to encourage her to make a "public apology," upon which she will be reinstated to the national team, said Trinidad.

"Gusto nila linisin ko 'yung katarantaduhan na ginawa nila," she said.

Trinidad has no intentions of making a public apology, but she still wants to represent the country in the SEA Games.

"Pangarap ko po 'yun," said Trinidad, whose great hope is that her participation in the SEA Games will inspire the local government of Pampanga to make a skate park.

"Gusto namin maglaro," she also said. "Malaking tulong ito sa amin sa Pampanga. Kapag na-represent ko 'to, okay na 'to. At least, makakalapit na ako sa government namin sa Pampanga."

Mendigoria still has not yet replied to ABS-CBN News' request for comment as of posting.