Hangzhou, China – Filipino skateboarder Margielyn Didal faced a challenging ordeal at the 19th Asian Games due to a surgically repaired left ankle, resulting in her surrendering her championship title in the women’s street skateboarding event.
Didal had undergone surgery on her left ankle 11 months ago, which had kept her out of competition for an extended period. In her initial run, she scored 23.39 points, followed by 12.84 points in the subsequent run, ultimately finishing at the bottom of the eight-competitor leaderboard.
The 24-year-old, who had previously clinched the gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games, struggled with her foot throughout the competition, slipping three times during the trick sequences. These unfortunate tumbles led to her elimination from the competition, which took place at the Qiantang Roller Sports Centre.
Speaking about her injury, Didal mentioned, “My injury has already healed, but I can still feel tightness around my foot, possibly due to the metal plates that were installed.”
During her third attempt at executing a trick, she once again aggravated her injured ankle, forcing her to remain on the ground briefly. After massaging her foot, she managed to stand up, albeit with a noticeable limp, and made her way to the sidelines.
Chinese athlete Chi Chenxi dominated the event, combining a pair of runs and five tricks to secure the gold medal with an impressive 242.62 points. Her compatriot, Zeng Wenhui, secured the silver with 236.61 points, while Japan’s Miyu Ito claimed the bronze with a score of 213.00.
Didal had dislocated and fractured her ankle during the Red Bull Stake Levels competition in Brazil the previous year. Her road to recovery had been a challenging one, and she made her comeback in this continental meet, the same event where she had risen to prominence five years ago.
Margielyn Didal’s gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games had been a significant contribution to the Philippines’ success in the competition. Dubbed as a symbol of “women power,” the Philippines had won four gold medals in total, including victories from weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz and golfer Yuka Saso. Yuka Saso had also led the women’s golf team to triumph, alongside Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go.
Following her sudden fame at the Asian Games, Didal continued to excel in Philippine skateboarding, clinching two more gold medals during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games held in Tagaytay City.