Downhill skater Jaime de Lange believed that the national team’s domination in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games made a huge leap for the skateboarding scene.
De Lange, who ruled the downhill event, recalled that he saw an instant impact for the sport after the Philippines bagged 11 medals and bested three other countries in the biennial regional meet.
“After the Games, there was immediately a big jump in people trying to longboard and skateboard. Everybody I knew was buying their nieces and nephews or their daughters skateboards for Christmas,” said de Lange in a recent episode of MB Sports Chat.
“It was like the biggest thing and right after Christmas, we’ve had skate school where I had a couple of hundred people come out on weekend sessions.”
It would be recalled that the SEA Games was held from November 30 to December 11, which was days away from the Yuletide season. The national skateboarding team hauled six gold, four silver and one bronze medals against Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
De Lange and Duke Pandeagua captured the gold and silver medals in the downhill event, respectively, while women’s counterpart Rydelle Abarico settled for bronze.
Jericho Francisco Jr. and Daniel Ledermann respectively topped the park and Game of SKATE events while Mak Feliciano ranked second in the street event.
Margielyn Didal reigned supreme in the street and Game of SKATE events while Christiana Means dominated the park event and placed second in the street and Game of SKATE.
“There was really an explosion, which was kind of a bummer with COVID[-19] and everything, [it] slowed the momentum down,” added the 23-year-old De Lange, who is currently in Los Angeles, California.
“But still, it’s more in the commercials, more on the billboards. It’s cool again and for me that’s enough. And we have people like Margie, and Mak, and Jeff [Gonzales] who are like good role models for the sport so they can really put it in the mainstream.”
Unfortunately, skateboarding isn’t included in the upcoming 2021 SEA Games in Vietnam but De Lange expressed his desire to suit up for the national team once more.
Carl Sambrano, president of Skateboarding and Roller Sports Association of the Philippines, earlier said the national team is preparing for future tournaments, aside from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, such as 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.
De Lange, for his part, awaits the official announcements for the World Roller Games and International Downhill Federation World Cup.