Didal scores golden double in US

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    DOUBLE TREAT: Asian Games skateboard gold medalist Margielyn Arda Didal stamped her class in two top international competitions in the US yesterday before heading for the Olympic qualifying tournament in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
    DOUBLE TREAT: Asian Games skateboard gold medalist Margielyn Arda Didal stamped her class in two top international competitions in the US yesterday before heading for the Olympic qualifying tournament in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    ASIAN Games champion Margielyn Arda Didal scored a golden double in two highly-rated competitions in United States yesterday, boosting her morale going into the OI STU Open Street-Park Skateboarding 5-star Olympic qualifying event on Nov. 11 to 17 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    Skateboarding chief Monty Mendigoria told Malaya-Business Insight that Didal, who ruled the women’s street skateboarding event in the 2018 Asian Games in Palembang, Indonesia, first topped the 2019 Exposure All-Women’s Skateboarding Championships in Huntington Beach, California.

    With apparently still plenty left in her tank, the petite and perky Cebuana made a 46-minute, 57-kilometer drive via the California Interstate Highway and arrived on time to see action and win the Ladies Day Skate Competition in Los Angeles.

    The Los Angeles event was held at The Berrics, a popular skateboard park owned by pro skateboarders Steve Berra and Eric Koston and dubbed as the “most award-winning skateboarding site in the world.”

    Didal pocketed $10,000 from the first tournament – $5,000 for topping the event and another $5,000 for making the best trick – and $5,000 for the second, or a total of roughly P757,000 for a day’s work.

    “These twin wins ought to encourage Margie before she competes in the Olympic qualifying tournament in Rio,” said Mendigoria, who heads the Skateboarding and Rollersports Association.

    Didal is currently ranked No. 13 in the latest Olympic world skateboarding rankings released by World Skate last Sept. 16, well within the top 19 that would compete in the Olympics were it to be held today. The Olympic cut-off for the event is on May 31, 2020.

    Among those who saw action at The Berrics competition was Japanese Olympic hopeful Issa Kaya, who is currently No. 23 in the world ratings.

    The latest world rankings will be released after the Rio Olympic qualifying competition.

    Only the top 19 skaters in both the men’s and women’s divisions of the street and park skateboarding events, or a total of 78 athletes, will see action when the fast-rising millennial sport makes its debut in the Tokyo Olympics kicking off Aug. 29 next year.

    Also making a bid in the Rio de Janeiro Olympic qualifying tourney is Fil-Am park skateboader Jericho Francisco, ranked 43rd in the world ratings released last September.

    “Since only a maximum of three entries per country will be allowed for each event, and some have more in the higher ranks, Kiko (Francisco’s nickname) would move up to No. 23 so would have a chance of rising further if he performs well in Rio,” Mendigoria said. “He stands a good chance of also making it to Tokyo.”

    After their Rio stints, Didal and Francisco will return to the country and join the rest of the national team members in familiarizing themselves with the newly-built skate park in Tagaytay, Cavite as part of the last stage of their training for the 30th Southeast Asia Games.

    “The contractor of the skate park is working virtually round-the-clock so that the skate park will be finished before the end of November,” Mendigoria said. “Hopefully, our athletes will have more than enough time to familiarize themselves with the conditions there.”