WORLD Skate announced on Thursday Margielyn Didal’s qualification in skateboarding’s street event at the Olympics, making her the 10th Filipino athlete who have so far earned tickets to Tokyo.
Didal made it to the Olympics by virtue of her No. 13 ranking in World Skate, the world governing body for skateboarding and roller sports.
The top 16 in the world rankings automatically earned slots to the Olympics, along with the athletes who topped the qualifiers staged in the US and Italy earlier this month. There are a total 80 athletes—20 each in men and women street and park—competing in skateboarding which is debuting in Tokyo.
“I believe she could win the gold,” Philippine Olympic Committee President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said.
The 22-year-old Cebuano, who won gold in street in the Jakarta 2018 Asian Games and 2019 Southeast Asian Games, finished 17th out of 32 competitors in the last Friday’s semifinals of the Street Skateboarding World Championships 2021 in Rome, Italy.
Brazilians Pamela Rosa and Rayssa Leal finished 1-2 and Japanese Aori Nishimura was third in the rankings.
Also in the top 16 Olympic rankings were No. 4 Leticia Bufoni of Brazil, No. 5 Momiji Nishiya of Japan, No. 6 Mariah Duran of the US, No. 7 Roos Zwetsloot and No. 8 Candy Jacobs of The Netherlands, No. 9 Hayley Wilson of Australia, No. 10 Funa Nakayama of Japan, No. 11 Alexis Sablone of the US and No. 12 Keet Oldenbeuving also of The Netherlands.
“We are proud of her achievements. It’s the first time for skateboarding in the Olympics,” chef de mission to the Tokyo Olympics Mariano Araneta said. “In a short period of time, she won the 2018 Asian Games and 2019 SEA and gold medals. Hopefully, she’ll do her best in the Olympics.”
Didal joined boxers Irish Magno, Eumir Felix Marcial, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam, gymnast Carlos Yulo, pole vaulter EJ Obiena, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, rower Cris Nievarez and taekwondo jin Kurt Bryan Barbosa on Team Philippines to Tokyo.
US Women’s Open champion Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan and Juvic Pagunsan already bagged slots to Tokyo but the official announcement of their qualification is expected to be made on June 23.
Eight karate athletes are fighting for Olympic berths in a Paris qualifier starting on Friday, while the country will have at least one universality representative in swimming. Filipino athletes in athletics are also seeking qualification.
The Olympics are set from July 23 to August 8.
Image courtesy of Dani Bautista