Remember when Olympian Margielyn Didal called for local skateparks?

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Remember when Olympian Margielyn Didal called for local skateparks?
Philippines' Margielyn Arda Didal reacts as she competes in the women's street preliminary round during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Sports Park Skateboarding in Tokyo on July 26, 2021.

MANILA, Philippines — Before she was stealing hearts in the Women's Street Skateboarding event in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Margielyn Didal was among athletes calling for better facilities in the country.

During the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, where she won two gold medals, Didal urged the Philippine sports community to have a sense of urgency and build infrastructure to further improve their skills.

"Philippines, wake up po tayo, first day, first event natin [sa skateboarding], we got three medals in one day," Didal said, who was joined in the medal haul by Daniel Ledermann and Christiana Means that day.

"We need to wake up, we don't have a skatepark yet," she added.

It would take the COVID-19 pandemic, for Didal to have her own skatepark in Cebu City, which was funded by private sector company Red Bull Philippines. The company has been backing the skateboarder.

While the skate park in Cebu would be a big step in the right direction, it's only the first of many that can and should be done for the country to produce the best athletes in the sport.

Even national team coach Anthony Claravall, who was with Didal in Tokyo, shared the same sentiment in 2019.

He lamented the need for skateboarders to go overseas just to train. If we had the facilities, he said, we could do even better.

"Margie has to leave the Philippines in order to maintain the level, or grow to become a better skateboarder," Claravall said.

"Please support our Filipino athletes... We just want good facilities, and we can do way way more than what you're seeing. This is just the beginning," he added.

Despite the lack of local infrastructure, Didal reached the women's street skateboarding final in Tokyo, where she finished seventh out of eight skaters.




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