HANGZHOU, China — Margielyn Didal ended her reign on a sad, painful note.
Feeling the pain brought by an injury that she sustained last year, the 24-year-old Didal lost her crown after withdrawing from the women’s street skateboarding competition of the 19th Asian Games on Wednesday at the Quiantang Roller Sports Centre here.
Didal struggled in her first trick in both first and second runs as she stumbled and appeared to hurt her right arm after an unsuccessful second trick attempt. Then, she failed to execute her trick in the second run before quitting with still eight seconds left.
Didal finished eighth with 23.39 points while Cui Chenxi of China copped the gold medal with a total score of 242.62 points.
Another Chinese in Zeng Wenshui clinched the silver with 236.61 points while Miyu Ito of Japan settled for the bronze medal with 221.59 points.
Didal rued her setback, saying that it’s time for her to relinquish her throne after winning the title in the Jakarta edition of the Asian Games in 2018.
“In every contest, there are different winners,” Didal told Manila-based sportswriters following the setback that left the Filipinos with only two bronze medals entering the halfway mark of the prestigious quadrennial meet.
“My reign ends today. Maybe it’s no longer my time.”
Didal was a mere shadow of her old, dominant self after suffering a fractured ankle while competing in the Red Bull Stake Levels in Brazil in October of last year.
It was very obvious that Didal has yet to fully recover after doctors inserted metal plates on her ankle to keep the bones intact.
With a surgically-repaired ankle in the biggest sporting stage in Asia, Didal’s moves were very limited as she slid and tumbled on several occasions whenever she tried to execute the tricks that made her the country’s skateboarding queen.
She, however, refused to cite her injury as an excuse.
“It takes a lot of time to recover so it’s not easy. I have to deal with this,” Didal said.
“Injuries often come in skateboarding. For me, it’s just random pain since the bone has already healed. But I can still feel the tightness around the foot. Probably, it’s because of the metal plates that they installed.”
“But I know that injuries are part of competing in skateboarding. So I have to deal with this. “I just have to work hard and be better next time.”
Didal, however, is looking at a bigger battle — the Paris Olympics next year.
“We’ll try to qualify. There’s a qualifying event this December in Japan. After the Asian Games, I will do rehab and more training,” said Didal, who is priming up for the Japan Street 2023 World Championships in December and another world qualifying event in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates next year before the cut-off for the Summer Games.
Right now, Didal ranks No. 40 in the world, well within the top 44 skateboarders bound for the Paris Olympics.
“She just has to stay in the pack,” Didal’s manager and coach Anthony Claravall said.
“We’re going to take it one day at a time.”
Team Philippines has yet to add to the bronze medals won by Patrick King Perez in taekwondo and Jones Inso in wushu.
The Filipinos, however, are still expecting a bronze medal from Alex Eala, who pulled the rug from under Kyoka Okamura of Japan in the quarterfinals of the women’s singles event at the Centre Court of the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre.
Also expected to add to the medal haul are Sanda fighters Arnel Mandal, Gideon Freed Padua, and Clemente Tabagura Jr., who are still competing at press time.
Mandal is battling Avazbek Amanbekov of Kyrgyzstan in the men’s 56-kilogram event while Padua is facing Shoja Panahigelehkolaei of Iran in the men’s 60-kg category and Tabagura is competing against Samuel Marbun in the men’s 65-kg class at press time.