Margielyn Didal still working on regaining confidence, eyes another Asian Games gold

Philippines' Margielyn Arda Didal reacts after her first run in the skateboarding women's street final of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Sports Park in Tokyo on July 26, 2021

Margielyn Arda Didal — INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Sidelined by a gimpy ankle over a year ago, Margielyn Didal remains a work in progress as far as revitalizing her drive to keep the Asian Games (Asiad) title is concerned.

The fearless Cebuano skateboard warrior went under the knife to repair a fractured left foot, and is gradually working her way back into the groove to be in tip-top form to defend the women’s street event diadem.

“As of now, I’m still focused on my recovery while building my confidence again to get comfortable with my board,” said Didal, designated as the country’s female flag-bearer in the opening ceremony of the 19th Asiad here at Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium on Saturday.

The 24-year-old Didal, who arrived with the four-athlete skateboarding team on Wednesday, hurt her ankle badly during the Red Bull Skate Levels last year in Brazil.

Since then, it took a long time before Didal rode her board again to jumpstart her bid in the continental meet that served as the springboard of her sudden rise to prominence back in 2018 in Indonesia.

“It was 11 months since I was forced to stop. We trained in Thailand before coming here, so we’ll see how it feels,” said Didal.

Didal’s gold contributed to that “women power” in the 2018 Asian Games where Team Philippines collected four golds, including the individual victories of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz and golfer Yuka Saso, who also led the women’s team to triumph along with Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go.

After Didal’s instant fame came in the Asiad, she became a byword in Philippine skateboarding and pocketed two more golds during the Philippine hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games held in Tagaytay City.

Didal joined Christiana Means as the first Filipino women skateboarder to compete in the Street League Skateboarding Championships in 2019 Rio De Janeiro.

Everything seemed to work out just fine with Didal wearing the national colors again in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, where she placed seventh overall in the medal round before tragedy struck last year.

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“My goal here is to make the finals. From there, I’ll try to get to the podium,” promised Didal, who will see action on Sept. 27.