Our flag and country will be represented by some of the most talented individuals who have ever pushed on a skateboard this coming 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia on August 18 through September. According to Monty Mendigoria, president of the Skateboard and Roller Skate Association of the Philippines via an Journal Online interview, the National Team consists of Margielyn Arda Didal (ranked No. 2 in Asia), Mark “Mak” Feliciano, and Jeff Gonzales (both ranked in the Top 10) can do more than just place in their respective categories in the said event.
In fact, Didal is now in London for the 2018 Street League Skateboarding (SLS) PRO Open between May 26 to 28. She makes skateboarding history by holding the distinction of not only being the skater in the country, but also the only Asian who has qualified for this competition. The SLS was launched back in 2010 by pro skateboarder Rob Dyrdek to further the advancement and acceptance of skateboarding worldwide. Since then, it has become the premier competitive series in skateboarding and is recognized by pros, enthusiasts, and fans of the community as such. Following said event, the national skateboarding team is scheduled to train in United Kingdom as well for the preparation for the upcoming Asian Games.
As for the Asian Games, it was in 2016, a late agreement finally materialized between organizers and members of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Coordination Commission which put skateboarding as part of their now 40-sport roster. Moreover, this edition of the pan-Asian multi-sport event will mark the first time wherein it will be co-hosted by two cities: Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia and Palembang, the capital of the province of South Sumatra.
My Life On Board was able to catch up with Gonzales and he admits that dealing with the pressure alone of such contests can be overwhelming. But, his approach to quiet his nerves is one that’s simple and effective as he lets his superb skills take over. “I don’t consider myself a contest skater, but when I skate a contest I try to have fun with it. The pressure sucks, so I divert it with having a good time.”
For Gonzales, the time for Philippine skateboarding is now and we shouldn’t be surprised if we see more and more kababayans rule the landscape. “I see it’s evolving and more kids are getting into skateboarding which is cool.”
Similarly, Gonzales’ introduction to skateboarding came at a young age when he saw someone skating back in Houston. The man would give his Gonzales his board and would, in the process, spark the journey of one of the Philippines’ best. “What caught my attention with skateboarding is the fun. Still makes me feel like a little kid. The lifestyle of it is cool too. Just the fact that you can step out the house and start pushing feels great already.”
While Gonzales, Feliciano, and Didal are set to compete in one of the biggest competitions of their already successful and storied skateboarding careers, but they can count on the fact that the nation is behind them every step of the way.