Asian Games gold medalist Margielyn Didal happy to see growth in Philippine skateboarding scene
ABS-CBN Sports on Jul 12, 2019 06:22 PM
"I’m super hyped na mas lumaki yung skate scene and mas nabigyan ng pansin."
Twenty-year old Margielyn Didal was one of the Philippine contingent's biggest stars during last year's Asian Games in Jakarta/Palembang.
The Cebuana was one of four Filipina athletes to take home a gold medal, representing the tri-colors in an event that wasn't necessarily a popular sport in the Philippines: street skateboarding.
Nearly a year since, the Philippine skateboarding scene is seemingly getting more and more traction, and Didal's success on the big stage served as a catalyst.
"I think the Philippine skateboarding scene, malaki siya, and it’s getting bigger and bigger, especially because they put it in the Olympics, and some parents are interested in putting their kids into skateboarding now," Didal shared during a media scrum at the New Balance Numeric Asia Specific Tour, Friday afternoon in Manila. "I’m super hyped na mas lumaki yung skate scene and mas nabigyan ng pansin."
Didal is one of the proud ambassadors of New Balance, and has been with the athletic apparel company for the last three years.
"I [want to] give a big shoutout to Anthony Claravall, for New Balance Numeric Asia, because without him, wala akong kung nasaan ako ngayon," Didal shared. "Siya yung kumuha nung first ID ko. Sobrang thank you for being part sa New Balance, like family."
Since becoming an Asian Games gold medalist, life has not been the same for Didal, who has continued to compete with the hopes of qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
"It [has been] hectic, with schedule and skate events especially, for these qualification and ranking for the Olympics. I’m super happy about that, getting support from the Philippine government." she said.
For Didal, the busy life is all worth it, especially since the Philippine skateboarding scene is getting some shine along with it.
"Sobrang mas naging busy yung life, pero mas naging okay kasi nabigyan ng pansin nga yun skateboarding dito sa Pilipinas, kasi dati, wala lang."
"Before hindi naman sport yung skateboarding. Skateboarding is to have fun. Even now, we’re still having fun, in a good way naman na we’re getting support, we’re getting exposure, at mas lumaki pa nga, tsaka skateboarding kasi, sobrang saya. Hindi ko na-expect na gagawin siyang sport, and from this, I’ve changed my life a lot, and my family’s," she continued.
As such, Didal has become an inspiration to aspiring skaters in the Philippines. Pinoy skateboarders, young and young at heart alike, trooped to the press conference with hopes of getting to meet, and take photos with Didal as well as the other members of the New Balance Skate Team, including Jamie Foy and Franky Villiani.
Seeing the turnout was an amazing feeling for the young Filipina skater.
"Sa mga kids din diyan na naiinspire ng mga pro-skaters katulad ni Jamie Foy, it’s such an honor and it feels amazing na may na-iinspire kami na mga kids or mga other skaters din na gusto mag-skate or yung nag-stop mag-skate and gusto bumalik dahil nami-miss nila yung feeling pag-skateboard."
It wasn't only the fans that took notice of Didal's success, but also her hometown's government. Following her Asian Games gold, the Cebu City government pledged the construction of a skate park, which will not only hopefully develop even more future medalists, but also keep them from skating in potentially dangerous places like the streets and main throroughfare.
"It’s such an honor to represent the Philippines, especially for me, I grew up in my hometown without a skate park, getting chased by security, but still, we made it, and now they recognize us and give us the support. That’s overwhelming, na nakita nila lahat, na gusto nila mag-build ng skate park for all skaters," Didal said of the development.
Apart from bringing honor to the country, Didal was also able to show the world that while skating is mainly a male-dominated sport, the girls can hang as well.
"Before, it’s kinda [considered] as male stuff, now there are girl skaters growing all over the world, and it’s good, seeing these girls skating, shredding with them in big events, it’s cool that these girls can skate."
Barely in her 20s, Didal still has a lot more skating to do in her career, but already, she has an idea of what she wants her legacy to be when it's all said and done, and that's to have been able to share her talent and her knowledge to the next crop of star skaters.
"I want to share my talent sa ibang tao," Didal expressed.