With skateboarding approved as a regular event in the 2024 Olympics in Paris, the Go For Gold Philippine skateboarding team has started to lay down the groundwork to produce more Filipino skaters with Margie Didal’s caliber.
Monty Mendigoria, president of the Skateboarding and Roller Sports Association of the Philippines, said they recently accredited 12 new judges and referees under the tutelage of Asian Extreme Sports Federation technical director Warren Stuart.
They will also hold a series of regional tryouts beginning with the Luzon leg in Iba, Zambales on March 16-17 that will culminate in a national finals where the winners could earn the chance to compete in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Buoyed by her recent accolade as Philippine Sportswriters Association athlete of the year, Didal has gained more confidence to perform at her best in the coming Olympic qualifying trips backed by Go For Gold.
“The award by the PSA has motivated me to work harder as I prepare to qualify for the Olympics,’’ said Didal, who rose to instant fame after her gold-medal feat in the Asian Games.
Ranked No. 14 among the world’s top 60 skaters, the 19-year-old Cebuana should compete in four more Olympic qualifying meets in London, the United States, China and Japan to maintain or improve her current world ranking.
“We feel that Margie and the skateboarding team will become our bright lights in the Olympics, and hopefully they can bring home our first Olympic gold medal,’’ said Go For Gold godfather Jeremy Go.
Go For Gold will help bankroll the Olympic qualifying trips of Didal and Filipino-American Christiana Means for them to book a ticket to Tokyo.
Only the top 38 women skaters after these series of qualifiers will make it to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games with just a single Olympic slot for Asia aside from two automatic spots for Japan as host country.
The national qualifier for the Southeast Asian Games is scheduled Aug. 24-25 in Sta. Rosa, Laguna after the most promising skaters from the south take centerstage in the Mindanao leg on May 25-26 in General Santos City.
The best skaters from the Visayas region will show up in Cebu City on April 6-7 where Didal is expected to inspire the national team aspirants right in her hometown.