SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 4 Aug) – Surfing enthusiasts and fanatics in the country are glad on the news that surfing is to be included in the Olympic Games in 2020, saying that local surfers may have a chance at the gold in this sport that does not require one to be tall.
Philmar Alipayo, who captured the championship crown last July 12 during the West Sumbawa Pro in Indonesia, was ecstatic when he learned that the International Olympics Committee (IOC) has just announced the inclusion of surfing in the Tokyo Olympics.
“I’m overwhelmed by the news that finally this sports made it to the Olympics,” said the 24-year-old native of General Luna in Siargao Island, known as the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines.”
Alipayo, who is now second-seed in the Asian Surfing Championship, told MindaNews over mobile phone that this development is a great news to the surfing community across the globe.
Siargao International Surfing defending champion John Mark Tokong also said he was stunned by the news.
“It’s my dream that this sport would be eventually part of the Olympics, and now it’s in. So my wildest dream is to compete in the 2020 Games if I get a chance,” he said.
Tokong, who is now seventh-seed in the Asian Surfing Championship, stressed that a lot of surfers from the country could possibly win in this sport.
Another surfing queen from Siargao, Nilbie Blancada, 24, said she was happy that the IOC has finally come up with a decision to include surfing in the games.
“I’m joyful of this report,” said Blancada in an interview over Facebook. Blancada recently emerged as the champion in the Quiksilver Padma Challenge in Padma, Indonesia last week.
Another surfer, Daisy Valdez from La Union, lauded for the IOC decision.
All four agreed that height has no bearing in winning in a surfing competition.
“All you need is constant practice, self-discipline, and focus on the game,” said Alipayo.
The IOC announced in Brazil Wednesday that surfing will join skateboarding, sport climbing, baseball/softball and karate as new additions to the Olympic Games.
General Luna Mayor Jaime P. Rusillon said that more kids would possibly embrace surfing with the recent development.
“General Luna surfers could race against the international surfers out there, just like the recent two declared champions in the Asian Surfing Championships who come from this town,” he said, referring to Alipayo and Blancada. He added that surfing enthusiasts from this town could possibly get the elusive gold medal in the 2020 Olympics. (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)