Was it enough?

By: Glendale G. Rosal September 28,2018 - 10:52 PM

Members of the Guizo Skateboarders at their usual skating area at the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Glendale Rosal

Did Margielyn Didal’s gold help Cebu’s skateboarding scene?

When Cebuana Margielyn Didal won the women’s street skateboarding gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games last August, local skateboarders believed this was the perfect time for the society to start accepting and respecting the extreme sport.

Skateboarders have long been branded as rebellious and troublesome to many so when the news of Didal’s victory in the quadrennial meet spread, the fans of the extreme sport saw a glimpse of hope.

But did Didal’s gold medal change the way the society looks at skateboarding?

For some of the skateboarders in Mandaue whom Cebu Daily News got to talk to, not a lot has changed.

Boloy del Castillo, one of the founding members of the Guizo Skateboarders of Mandaue City, said Didal’s gold did help promote the sport.

But the bad impression on skateboarders remained.

“Even now, we are still being apprehended by security guards every time they see us walking down the street carrying our skateboards,” said the 23-year-old Del Castillo.

“The main problem here in the Philippines is that they tolerate the sport but they do not fully accept it.”

Cebuano skateboarders have explained their side about why they get into trouble during one of Cebu Daily News’ Sportstalks Facebook Live episode.

They said it’s basically just because they don’t have places to skate.

There is a lack of skate parks in Cebu, which is why at times, they take advantage of vacant private lots.

This is where the trouble begins since owners or their security guards don’t want them in their lots.

They are then tagged as troublemakers and nuisance on the streets because of that.

Didal testified to that.

Hopeful

Del Castillo and the rest of the Guizo Skateboarders are lucky that they do have a place where they can freely skate.

Every afternoon, they are regularly seen doing their tricks inside the premises of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Barangay Guizo in Mandaue City.

They have to give way, though, to those who would want to use the basketball court for a game of hoops.

“Our biggest problem since before is that we don’t have a skate park. Everyone looks at this sport negatively. Yes, Didal became our voice when she won the gold medal in the Asian Games but there was no change. But we are still hopeful that she will continue fighting for us and serve as our voice,” added Del Castillo.

There is no concrete program for skateboarding in the Philippines and Del Castillo’s group hopes that this is one aspect that can be taken care of with Didal’s victory.

He said this is important since there are a lot of potential skateboarders in Cebu who can be like Didal.

And with skateboarding making its debut in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, this can be a source of medals for the country.

Next Didal

Del Castillo said among the skateboarders with potential is 14-year-old Renz “Bonog” Gelig of Lapu-Lapu City. He is one of many who are left unnoticed because of the negative impression of the sport.

Gelig, a sixth grader at the Pajo Elementary School, said despite the lack of support, he will continue to strive in the hopes of being noticed.

“I really idolize Margie (Didal). I want to become like her to represent the country. But I do not get any support from the government. We don’t even have a proper place to practice. But I will persevere, I will train harder to reach my dreams,” Gelig said.

Del Castillo said that they’ve seen Gelig’s potential after the latter won numerous pocket tournaments in Lapu-Lapu City. This is also where Didal built her name until she was noticed by private entities from Manila.

For Jhonasio Ehem, who is also one of the founding members of Guizo Skateboarders and runs a skate shop in Guizo, if given enough exposure and support, Cebuano skateboarders can compete against the world’s best just like Didal.

“If they only heed our wish to give us a proper place where we can freely skate, then we could have won more than one gold medal during the Asian Games. There are more skaters aside from Didal who are very talented but left unnoticed because there is no help from the government. Instead, private entities from Manila and other countries get them and sponsor them,” said Ehem from Barangay Kasuntingan, Mandaue City.

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