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Means finally strikes gold



TAGAYTAY CITY — Christina Means finally struck gold while Jojit Francisco announced his arrival when they dominated the men’s and women’s park skateboarding events yesterday at the Tagaytay Extreme Sports Complex here.

Means notched her first gold medal when she scored 11.20 points to edge Indonesians Nyimas Cinta (10.76 points) and Neepa Pramesti (8.10) points in the final day of skateboarding competition of the prestigious biennial meet.

“I was a natural street-skater, and when they recruited me for the SEA Games, I did my best to balance training street and park (skating),” Means said.

The 22-year Filipino-American skater salvaged her final chance of clinching the gold medal twice after bowing down to compatriot Margielyn Didal in the Game of SKATE and street skateboarding events.

With a powerful combo of frontside flip and tailside, Means wowed hundreds of Filipinos in attendance as she bagged the well-deserved victory.

“Training for the park event was really a challenge.”

Means, who traced her roots from Pampanga, bared that she first learned sport when she was 16 years old in the street parks of North Carolina.

“It’s just due to continuous practice. I just keep on remembering what I trained for.”

Meanwhile, the 18-year old Francisco pulled off a surprise when he scored 42.20 points to beat Jason Lijnzaat of Indonesia (33.33 points) and Brian Van Upapong (26.33 points) of Thailand who settled for silver and bronze medals, respectively, in the men’s side.

Francisco came in as the last performer and shocked the crowd with his stunning combinations of alley-oop trick and 360-degree flip.

“I just skated everyday as much as possible and more importantly, I had fun,” said the California-raised skater.

“It is my first-time here in the Philippines, and I’m truly amazed. There’s a lot of adrenalin going on.”

“My hands are shaking, I felt nervous. But once you dropped in, everything goes away.”