By Erwin M. Mascariñas
Butuan City — As the sport of skateboarding has gained popular recognition and will see its Olympic debut in Tokyo 2020, local enthusiasts here are pleading for support to have their own skating park built.
“We have submitted a proposal for support to the local government unit of Butuan since September of 2018 to build a skatepark for Butuan City youths, unfortunately, the proposal has yet to materialize but we are hopeful,” said Ethel Lou Yuson of the BXU Boardriding Enthusiasts and one of the proponents of the project.
Yuson added that “the sport is well recognized worldwide wherein we, Filipinos have the potential to grow and excel. This has been demonstrated in the last Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta-Palembang, Indonesia with our very own Margielyn Didal brought home the gold medal for the Philippines.”
Jimat Libres, who heads the BXU Boardriding Enthusiasts pointed out that the need for the facility is for the best interest of the youth and a good promotion towards a sports-oriented society.
“Our passionate skateboarders and bike riders use the dangerous streets and car parks as their playground for the sport because there’s no proper place dedicated for them where they can ride and play in safety,” said Libres.
Libres added that they often build makeshift obstacle ramps out of used woods and tubes and carry it whenever they have the need to use it. According to him, this shows the dedication of the young athletes towards their sport, but this gives them a bad image as it may seem to others that they are trespassing on private properties.
“As concerned citizens, we wish these kids will be given a chance to prove that their sports are not a community threat as most have thought because they’re often seen in public places, which is definitely not a safe place for them and the passers-by too. We believe this is a social service to the young people, and to the community itself; we also believe this is a step closer to achieving excellence in the sports where we have a chance,” Libres added.
John Paul Gonzales, 23-years-old tattoo artist and one of the pioneers of the group Butuan Skateboarding Crew revealed that having a skating park would help a lot of the young talents in the sport.
“Our group was created since 2003 and it has grown to more than 30 members over the past few years, and even though we don’t have much of a place to practice the sport we have seen potential young future stars. Talented individuals that one day might bring home to Butuan much needed recognition in skateboarding, and that’s why we really need a good place to practice, a proper skating park,” said Gonzales.