Margielyn Didal of the Philippines, who won the women's street skateboarding at the previous Asian Games, could not get anything going this time, affected by a continued battle with pain from foot injuries.

But the 24-year-old was still determined to represent her country, where skateboarding is still a developing sport.

After her eighth-place finish in Wednesday's final at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, Didal told reporters that she has no choice but to train in other countries.

Margielyn Didal (L) of the Philippines speaks to reporters after competing in the women's street skateboarding final at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, on Sept. 27, 2023. (Kyodo)

"We have no public skate park in the Philippines," she said. "A skate park was built in Cebu for us to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics, just for the year, but when the contract finished, they had to shut it down."

"They (security guards) kick us out. There's nowhere to skate, so we have to make our own DIY obstacles."

Didal, who was recognized as one of the 25 most influential teens of 2018 by Time magazine, first tried skateboarding in her early teens at Concave Park, a former private skate park in Cebu, Philippines.

While her mother sold food outside the park, she would roam and make friends with skateboarders.

She would borrow the boards of her new skater friends until they eventually gave her enough parts to make her own.

After winning gold at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, Didal was described by ESPN as the face of Philippine skateboarding and went on to compete at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Didal hopes her profile will increase cultural acceptance of the sport and public investment in parks in the Philippines.

"Winning the Asian Games changed a lot, not just my life but also for my whole family and for the skate scene. Before, people thought that skateboarding was nothing, but now they see that it's in the Olympics, the Asian Games and the Southeast Asian Games."

Margielyn Didal of the Philippines poses for photos after competing in the women's street skateboarding final at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, on Sept. 27, 2023. (Kyodo)

Didal finished last in the eight-woman final in Hangzhou as China's 13-year-old Cui Chenxi won gold.

Earlier this week, her Filipino compatriot Mazel Paris Alegado, the youngest athlete at the games at 9, competed in the women's park skateboarding final.

Asked about being the only competitor over 18 in the street final, Didal said, "Skateboarding is not about age. I don't feel old because I'm also a bit childish, I just want to mess around."

"But I feel kind of left out because everyone is wearing helmets and knee pads" that are required for competitors under 18.

Didal revealed she is still recovering from her left ankle injury.

"I dislocated and fractured my fibula. It's hard because it's my back foot. Without it, I don't have the power to pop. I still have pain, but I tried to represent my country."

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