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Demetrio is pictured with young skateboarder Jelyn Ordanoso at the OCA youth camp in Nanjing.

Games News

Philippines’ Asian Games champion inspires sport, nation

Date : 07 Aug 2019

Nanjing, China, August 7, 2019: The 18th Asian Games in Indonesia last year produced a new sporting superstar in the Philippines – skateboarding champion Margielyn Didal.

“When she came back it was a crazy thing,” says Demetrio Raphael Cuevas, the 26-year-old coach of the Philippines’ delegation at the OCA skateboarding youth camp in Nanjing.

“One day no one knows Margie and the next day they are waiting for her at the airport. When she landed people already knew her.”

Margie, who is now 20 and competing on the professional circuit with the aim of qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, was undoubtedly the star of the skateboarding show when the flamboyant sport made its Asian Games debut in Palembang last August.

Combining her high-speed tricks and technique with a bubbly personality that had the spectators – and the announcers – eating out of her hand, Margie romped to victory in the daredevil women’s street event, winning the fourth gold medal of the Games for her country.

Demetrio says Margie’s success has proved to be an inspiration for skateboarding in the Philippines.

“More girls - and boys - are skating more because of Margie. They see what she has achieved and they feel that this level is reachable for them also. She has inspired everybody. It has been an eye-opener and has given hope to other skateboarders as well.”

With a fifth-place finish in the Street League Skateboarding World Tour in Los Angeles, California, recently, Margie looks to be in good shape ahead of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in the Philippines from November 30 to December 11.

Demetrio feels that this is a big opportunity for the Philippines and all the other SEA countries to put on an exciting show and help grow the sport around the region.

“She will handle it pretty well. She will be so excited; everyone will have her back and all her friends will be there,” he says.

“It is definitely a chance for the other countries, too. They want to get some benefits with more skate parks and places to skate. Hopefully the SEA Games will open up minds that it is a normal thing for people to do and that people want to skate.”

As for the Tokyo Olympics, a podium place for Margie could have a knock-on effect for skateboarding in a similar way to the inspiring story of boxing king Manny Pacquiao, according to Demetrio.

“We hope it will boost up the skateboarding community. When Manny Pacquiao started winning more belts you could see more boxing places opening up and we are shooting for more skate parks so everyone can benefit from it. It will be amazing.”

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