Didal’s path to Tokyo set

In Photo: Skateboarding gold medalist Margielyn Didal (left) and BMX cycling bronze medalist Daniel Caluag strike a pose at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex as skateboarding federation head Monty Mendegoria expounds on the plans for Mendegoria’s bid for the Tokyo Olympics.

MARGIELYN DIDAL’S path to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have practically been paved just two weeks after she won the Philippines’s fourth gold medal in the Jakarta Palembang 18th Asian Games.

And the path—just like skateboarding’s street track—is circuitous and demanding.

First stop for the 19-year-old Cebuana is the Exposure competition set on November 3 and 4 in San Diego, California. The Exposure is an all-women championships and, according to Skateboarding Association of the Philippines President Monty Mendigoria, is a perfect launching ramp for Didal.

“About 90 percent of the participants in the Exposure are all Olympics material and there, we can already scout Marie’s potential rivals in Tokyo,” Mendigoria told the BusinessMirror on Tuesday at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, where Didal met up with Jakarta Asiad BMX cycling bronze medalist Daniel Caluag, who just flew in from Los Angeles.

Didal, Caluag—the country’s sole gold-medal winner in the Incheon 2014 Asiad—and the other medalists in Jakarta and Palembang will receive their incentives from the government in formal ceremonies in Malacañang on Wednesday.

Mendigoria said Didal could be programmed for a two-month training in San Diego before heading home and hone herself up for the tough Street League series that starts in January in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In between, Didal could have a side trip to Sydney for the X-Games—but that, Mendigoria explained, would depend on whether the Australia competition would be a qualifier for Tokyo 2020.“We don’t want her to burn out,” said Mendigoria, who stressed that the Street League offers dozens of competitions all over the world with Nanjing hosting the Asian leg later in 2019.

Mendigoria said World Skate, the international federation for skateboarding, has mandated the Street League to do the world rankings to determine qualifiers for the Olympics.

For Tokyo 2020—where skateboarding will make its debut just like in the Asian Games two weeks ago—80 qualifiers from all over the world will vie for four gold medals—20 men and as many women in street, and exactly the same number for the park competitions.

But for the rest of Asia—with Japan getting two automatic slots as hosts—only one would be available for each discipline.

“That makes qualifying for the Olympics very tight,” Mendegoria said. “But our goal is to give Margie the best training possible—bring her to Brazil because it’s there where you find the highest level of skateboarding.”

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