Didal focuses on getting healthier to make Paris Games
HANGZHOU, China—Margielyn Didal got dethroned in the worst way in her defense of the Asian Games skateboarding gold medal Wednesday, forcing the fiery 24-year-old to focus on a bigger target: A second straight Olympics stint.
Ranked 40th in the world and still inside the top 44 that will make it to Paris next year, Didal—after finishing dead-last in the eight-strong finals field of the women’s street event here—will shoot to improve on her position to assure herself of a slot. And a big chunk of doing that has a lot to do with her health.
“It takes a lot of time to recover, so it’s not easy. I just have to deal with this,’’ said Didal in Filipino after she showed obvious signs of being bothered by the surgically repaired ankle that doomed her to scores of 23.39 points and 12.84—slipping thrice in both her routines in the trick sequence that put the famed Filipino skater out of the running for good at Qiantang Roller Sports Centre here.
After rolling the aggravated ankle on the third trick attempt, the Tokyo Olympian stayed on the ground for a while, massaged her foot and stood up limping to the sidelines.
China’s Chi Chenxi ruled the event after a pair of runs and five tricks with 242.62 points while compatriot Zeng Wenhui got the silver with 236.61. Japan’s Miyu Ito settled for the bronze with 221.59.
“Injuries often come in skateboarding,” Didal said matter-of-factly. “For me, it’s just random pain since the bone has already healed, but I can feel tightness around the foot. It’s probably due to the metal plates that were installed.”
A toast of PH sports in 2018 when she came out of nowhere to win gold in Jakarta, Indonesia, Didal fractured her left ankle last year in a tournament in Brazil 11 months ago and immediately went under the knife.
It took a while for her to ride a board again and give token defense of her title.
With that out of the way, Didal can now concentrate on getting better and taking aim at the Olympics.
“There’s a qualifying event this December in Japan. After here (in the Asian Games), I have to do rehab and more training,’’ said Didal, who will also campaign in another world qualifying event in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates next year before the cut-off a month prior to the Paris Games.