JAKARTA, Indonesia – From podium to center stage.
After her gold-medal romp in the women's skateboarding street event, Margielyn Didal has been bestowed the honor of carrying the Philippine flag in the 2018 Asian Games closing ceremonies on Sunday, September 2.
Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas confirmed that the 19-year-old Didal will lead the Philippine delegation this time after Filipino-American NBA player Jordan Clarkson served as flag-bearer during the opening ceremonies.
"Yung mga skateboarders sa Pilipinas, lahat ito para sa inyo. Babaguhin natin yung laro, need natin ng support," said Didal.
(To all the skateboarders in the Philippines, this is for you. We're going to change the game and we need the support.)
The young Cebuana captured the Philippines' fourth gold medal after a string of golden performances from Filipino female athletes Hidilyn Diaz of weightlifting, golf's Yuka Saso and the national women's golf trio of Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go. (READ: Margielyn Didal skates to 4th PH gold in 2018 Asian Games)
The Filipina skateboarder's father works as a construction worker while her mother is a sidewalk vendor of kwek kwek (eggs fried in flour batter) near the Concave Skate Park in Lahug, Cebu City. And it's here where she discovered the sport. (READ: Margielyn Didal: From street kid to Asian street skate champ)
"She borrowed our boards, our friend’s boards, and then in a few months, she became better than all the boys. And now she’s the best in the world. That’s so crazy. That’s the best story ever," recalled coach Daniel Bautista.
Didal is also set to receive a windfall of incentives worth at least P6 million from the government and private patrons.
But there had been many sacrifices as the skateboarding sensation also battled through collarbone and ankle injuries in her journey to become the best in Asia.
Didal now stands as one of the country's prime bets in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where skateboarding will also debut right after the Asiad.
Before the Olympics, Didal hopes to continue flashing her Asiad tiara around the world in competitions like the all-girls event "Exposure Skate" in San Diego, California in November and in the Street League Skateboarding championships again next year. – Rappler.com
More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.