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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

A victor’s path in ‘Beyond the Board’

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Documentary film Woman In Action: Beyond the Board recently premiered chronicling the inspiring journey of the Philippines’ first skateboarding Olympian Margielyn Didal. The feature is hosted by athlete-turned-broadcast journalist Gretchen Ho.

Speaking to Manila Standard Life, the host said that making the film taught her just as much as it would teach the viewers. She expressed that knowing Margielyn’s journey to becoming one of the greatest Filipino athletes today is an honor.

“Coming from the world of sports, I think it’s a privilege to tell this story and give back to where I came from. Doing this for an iconic athlete who made her way from having nothing to reaching the Olympics is truly special,” said Gretchen.

“The story of [Margielyn] is beautiful when you look at it. It’s like she’s constantly being tested, but you can see her character—with grit, with fire, her desire to really carry not just for family but also the whole skateboard community. It’s inspiring,” she continued.

Gretchen Ho (second from right) with Margielyn Diaz (second from left) during the premiere of the documentary film

“Beyond the Board” goes beyond Margielyn’s impressive competition record, delving into her humble beginnings, the challenges of overcoming a serious injury, and the pressure of representing the country on the world stage.

When asked what lessons she gained from the Olympian and how it changed her perspective towards sports in general, Gretchen shared how dedicated Margielyn was to learning that even in the absence of skate parks in the Philippines, she couldn’t stop herself from winning.

“Her ability to adjust to what’s given to her. How did she manage to learn? They go to different countries, they train there before tournaments. Whatever they have or what is given to them, they use it because they have no choice. It’s admirable because normally, others would give up but not her— it’s a team effort,” Gretchen continued.

She then expressed her desire to give justice to the untold stories of other Filipino athletes and with her coming from the world of sports and now having the power to tell these stories through Beyond the Board, she described it as her “true calling”.

“I feel like stories like these should not be overlooked. I mean, we have a lot of sports heroes. It’s not just Margielyn, we have Hidilyn [Diaz], we have EJ Obiena, we have Manny Pacquiao. I think we need more of these stories to be told,” Gretchen added.

Gretchen also shared that the film highlighted the importance of giving athletes a platform so their stories would be heard and known, especially those people who aspire to carry the Philippine flag one day.

“You will be inspired if she can do it, I can do it even if I have nothing in life. If this person makes her way to that level, nothing’s impossible. Just to be able to share that story. Inspiration, and to be able to lift people through what it takes to be in the elite level, that’s what matters. I mean, it’s one thing to dream and another thing to understand what it means to get there,” she stated.


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