PH skateboarding holds regional qualifiers
MANILA, Philippines – After a breakthrough year, Philippine skateboarding gears up for the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games that the country will host late this year.
The sport's national association will hold the 2019 Go For Gold Philippines Skateboarding Regional Championships across the country, where the podium finishers will advance to the National Southeast Asian Games qualifier on August 24 to 25. (READ: SEA GAMES 2019: Skateboarding, windsurfing among 56 approved sports)
The regional series will kick off in the Luzon region on March 23 to 24 at Robinsons Novaliches followed by the Visayas leg in Cebu City from April 6 to 7. The Mindanao qualifiers will take place in General Santos City on May 25 to 26.
Monty Mendigoria, president of the Skateboarding and Roller Sports Association of the Philippines Inc, said the organization is holding the competitions for the first time after Margielyn Didal helped propel the development of the country's skate scene by winning a historic gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games.
"The reason why we came up with this is the inclusion of skateboarding in the SEA Games," said Mendigoria. "Now that we have a regional championships, we can find the best skateboarders not only in the Philippines but in the whole Asia-Pacific."
The skateboarding federation is also open to the participation of Fil-foreign skaters. But if they're unable to represent a locality, they automatically gain a berth in the national qualifiers.
Mendigoria added that the qualifiers will help them determine the best skaters in the country, following some criticisms on the national team selection for the 2018 Asian Games. (WATCH: How Cebu's skateboarders are fighting for their own space)
"We never had a proper selection because what we did was we got champions from different championships like Go Skateboarding Day, champion of this skateboarding event," the federation president recalled.
"We never had a chance of having a qualifier or championships because we don’t have any funds or logistics. We never had the support, we were really struggling, but we needed to send people to the Asian Games."
The association will select a maximum of 16 members and a reserve for each event in the SEA Games.
The regional biennial meet will hold 4 events for skateboarding – free skate, park, downhill and game of skate – for both the men and women's divisions. As host, the Philippines can enter two participants per event of each division.
But the skateboarding federation plans to limit each athlete to a maximum of two events.
Skateboarding's park and street events have also been included in the 2024 Paris Olympics and the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. – Rappler.com
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