HANGZHOU—Margielyn Didal was in high spirits when she set foot on the Athletes Village on Thursday obviously unbothered by a fractured ankle that needed surgery a year ago.
Or is it her jolly personality that’s taking over whatever negative is in her mind as she defends the women’s street gold medal she won five years ago in Palembang.
“I was forced to stop 11 months ago because of my injury. As of now, I’m focused on my recovery to regain my confidence and get comfy with my board,’’ said Didal, one of four Filipinas responsible for the four gold medals won at the Jakarta 18th Asian Games.
Didal will march alongside world No. 2 pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena during the traditional parade of athletes during the opening ceremony of the Asian Games 19th edition on Saturday at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium.
“We trained in Thailand before coming here,” said the 24-year-old Didal, who fractured her left ankle she during the Red Bull Stake Levels tourney last year in Brazil.
“My goal is to make it to the finals. From there, I’ll try to get to the podium,’’ added Didal, who’s accompanied here by her manager, globe-trotting skate filmer Anthony Claravall.
Also competing with Didal in skateboarding are male athletes Renzo Mark Feliciano, John Flory Panuganilog and Jericho Jojit Francisco.
Didal and Tokyo Olympics weightlifting gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo are defending their gold medals, but two of the four-women team that swept women’s golf in Jakarta are no longer around—double gold winner Yuka Saso is now a Japanese citizen while Bianca Pagdanganan’s skipping Hangzhou because of her pro commitments.
That leaves Lois Kaye Go as the remnant of that champion team, who, herself, would be hard-pressed alongside young sensation Rianne Malixi.
Hagoc organizers denied Chanelle Avaricio as a replacement for Princess Superal, who opted for a Ladies Professional Golf Association Q-School.
Image credits: POC-PSC Media Pool