Didal raring to compete in Olympic qualifiers despite possible outright berth

Published February 26, 2021, 4:13 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Margielyn Didal celebrates after winning the Game of SKATE during the SEA Games at Sigtuna Hall, Tagaytay International Convention Center in Tagaytay, December 5, 2019. (MB File Photo)

Filipino skateboarding star Margielyn Didal is raring to return to competition despite high chances of having an outright berth in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Since most of the Olympics qualifiers leading into the 2021 Tokyo Games were scrapped or postponed, Didal has since then fortified her No. 14 spot in the world rankings in the women’s street category with 22,420 points.

“Kampante naman ako sa kung anong numero ako ngayon sa world rankings but also if I could compete or make it better, it would be good. But I’m good sa number naman (I’m pretty much confident with my spot in the world rankings but also if I could compete or make it better, it would be good. But I’m good with my number),” said Didal, who is ranked third in Asia.

Both Carl Sambrano, president of Skateboarding and Roller Sports Association of the Philippines, and national team coach Dani Bautista are also relying on Didal’s competitive nature and good standing among skaters in the continent as she is also ranked third in Asia.

Didal is also fortunate to have the proper exposure to several international competitions before the sporting world was put on a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After bagging two gold medals in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, Didal last saw action in March last year and claimed third place in the 26th Tampa Pro Competition Women’s Open in Florida.

Bautista, however, said it would still be beneficial for Didal is she gets to compete alongside top-caliber skateboarders. 

Nonetheless, the 21-year-old Cebuano pride is likely to join pole vaulter EJ Obiena, world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo, and boxers Eumir Felix Marcial and Irish Magno in the Olympics should she maintain her good spot in the Olympic World Skateboarding Rankings (OSWR) until June 29.

“With regards to her ranking, we’re pretty confident that she’s gonna be in the Olympics. Kahit wala nang qualifiers (Even without qualifiers),” added Bautista.

Per World Skate, both park and street events in men’s and women’s categories will each be comprised of 20 athletes with three highest placers in the 2021 Season World Skate World Skateboarding Championship events, 16 based on the OSWR, and another one for the host country, if not already otherwise qualified. 

Didal has started full-blown training in hometown Cebu last December alongside teammates and 2024 Olympic hopefuls Mak Feliciano, the 2019 SEA Games silver medalist, and Cindy Serna after receiving the go-signal from the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases.

While the focus is on Didal and the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Sambrano said the organization is also preparing for future tournaments such as the 2021 Asian Youth Games, where he happened to be the chef de mission, 2022 Asian Indoor Games, 2022 World Roller Games, 2022 Asian Games, 2024 Paris Olympics and the 2026 Youth Olympic Games.

Skateboarding, unfortunately, isn’t included in the upcoming SEA Games later this year.