by Nick Giongco
Skateboarder Margie Didal is suddenly awash with cash but the 2018 Asian Games gold medalist insists she is saving for the rainy days.
Moments before getting the cash incentive at Malacañang, the Bulletin caught up with her and the Cebu-bred athlete admits things have dramatically changed since her gold medal performance in Palembang.
“Before I considered myself only as a skater but when we got there (in the Asian Games), I was an athlete,” said Didal.
Combined with pledges from the private sector, a gold medalist gets a total of P7 million.
“I will use the money for business and for my training,” said Didal, who has been jetting in and out of Manila in dizzying frequency the last ten days.
In the next few weeks, Didal will be travelling around Asia and in the US either to endorse or compete.
Before, Didal’s airfare had to be bought my skateboarding officials and other backers but these days, tickets come from just about anywhere.
“Even the tickets of my parents are being given to me…hotel expenses as well,” said Didal.
Under the law an Asian Games gold is worth P2 million but the Siklab Atleta Foundation of Presidential Adviser Dennis Uy also promised P1 million while Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Lee Hiong Tan and President Rodrigo Duterte also pledged P1 million apiece.
The remaining P2 million will be given by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and the formal handover has yet to take place.
Didal’s gold was one of four the Philippines won in the Asian Games. The three others were provided by weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, golfer Yuka Saso and the women’s golf team.
With the win, Didal is being groomed to earn a slot to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
But Didal swears that putting an end to the Olympic gold medal hunt won’t be easy.
“You have to participate in the qualifying and be very active,” she said.
The first of many Olympic-related events will begin in 2019 and with Didal getting all-out support, winning is possible.