'So Fun!' Says 9-year-old Asian Games Skateboarder

Philippines' Mazel Paris Alegado competes in the women's park skateboarding event during the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, in China's eastern Zhejiang province on September 25, 2023. Photo by Adek BERRY / AFP

Hangzhou, China​ -- She probably ought to have been in primary school, but instead Mazel Paris Alegado -- aged nine -- competed in skateboarding at the Asian Games on Monday.

Alegado, thought to be the youngest athlete at the Games in Hangzhou and representing the Philippines, qualified for the "women's" park final and came seventh out of eight.

Japan's Hinano Kusaki, a comparative veteran at 15, won gold.

Alegado, who turned nine in March and reportedly comes from California, said she got into skateboarding when she saw her brother doing it while they were at a cousin's house.

"And I was like, 'Can I try? Can I try?'" she said. "And I got on the board and just loved it."

Talking on her feelings about taking part in a major international competition, Alegado said: "I was so excited because I was about to skate the Asian Games -- and I just did, so it was so fun!"

Asked if her brother still skates, she replied: "No because he was like, 'Oh dang, she's better than me now', so he stopped."

In the final, Alegado avoided the wooden spoon, which instead went to Taiwanese 11-year-old Lin Yi-fan.

© Agence France-Presse

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