Palembang—It’s amazing how a little, round, flat piece of metal not weighing more than 600 grams could completely alter the life of an athlete.
For skateboarder Margielyn Ardan Didal, things are about to get crazy rich.
Didal, whose mother sells kwek-kwek (deep fried hard-boiled egg in flour) for a living, stands to receive P6 million from the government and private sponsors after winning the women’s skateboard street gold in the 2018 Asian Games on Wednesday in a performance Olympic committee chief Ricky Vargas described as “breathtaking.”
Sponsors who are into skateboarding like Sprite, Vans, Red Bull, Kia and the like could come knocking on her door. Television crews will follow her every tournament. Sportswriters will bug her for interviews, while common folks will ask to be her friend on Facebook.
Her mother, on the other hand, can stop selling kwek-kwek, or sell 2 million of them for the next three decades (if she decides to stick to the job, but we doubt it).
But as an athlete, Didal said her life will practically be the same, training five to six hours a day, almost everyday of the week. What will change now is the number of tournaments she plans to join in the hopes of landing the bigger prize—gold in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“I want to earn qualifying points for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games,” said the Cebuana, who honed her skills in the streets of Lahug City.
In the case of skateboarding, which will be making its debut as a medal sport in the quadrennial global sports showcase, it will take a series of Olympic qualifiers to determine the 80 participants in the discipline—20 each in the men and women’s park and street events, respectively.
As the Olympic host, Japan is guaranteed one slot in each of the four events while the top three finishers in the world skateboard championships immediately before the Olympics will earn tickets to Tokyo.
The remaining 16 slots will be based on the Olympic skateboarding world rankings by June 2020, with a country allowed to field as many as three eligible skateboarders in each of the four events.
Didal, who will be the Philippine Team’s flag bearer in the closing ceremonies here, will have her first crack at earning qualifying points in the Street League Skateboarding World Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in January.
“We are lining up Margie to compete in Rio so she can earn ranking points,” said Skateboard Association of the Philippines, Inc. president Monty Mendigoria.
If she ends up winning it all in Tokyo, maybe she can buy her family nice things. Or build a skate park to aid her fellow skateboarders. Or put up a mega food business, kwek-kwek eggs included.
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