June 24 (Reuters) - Five skateboarders to watch out for at the Tokyo Olympics:
NYJAH HUSTON (UNITED STATES)
A skateboarding prodigy who made his X Games debut when he was just 11, Huston is one of the most high-profile athletes in the sport with lucrative brand partnerships and more than 4.6 million followers on Instagram.
Though Huston narrowly lost to Japan’s Yuto Horigome in the Street World Championships held in Rome in June, the 26-year-old is seen as a favourite to take home gold.
YUTO HORIGOME (JAPAN)
Yuto Horigome, 22, is ranked second in the world and won three out of four Street League Skateboarding (SLS) contests in 2018. Horigome grew up in Tokyo, but moved to California, the mecca of skateboarding, in 2016.
Most recently, Horigome narrowly defeated Nyjah Huston at the 2021 Street Skateboarding World Championship held in Rome in June.
SKY BROWN (BRITAIN)
Twelve-year-old Sky Brown is expected to compete for Britain after recovering from a life-threatening fall last May.
Brown, who suffered skull fractures after she fell from a half-pipe in Southern California last year, has said she was not anxious about competing in Tokyo.
The teenager, who is set to become Britain’s youngest ever summer Olympian, won the World Championship bronze as an 11-year-old in 2019 and has said she first learned her tricks on YouTube.
KOKONA HIRAKI (JAPAN)
At 12, Hiraki is set to become Japan’s youngest athlete to compete in a summer Olympic Games. Hiraki is from Japan’s northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido and began skating with her father when she was just five.
Hiraki, who will compete in the park category, won silver during the 2019 X Games and is ranked sixth overall in the world.
MARGIELYN DIDAL (PHILIPPINES)
Didal, 22, made her debut at the 2018 X Games in Minneapolis and won gold at the Asian Games in the women’s street competition the same year.
Didal’s success has made her a national figure in the Philippines, where she started skating even though she had no access to a skate park or her own board.
Didal was selected as one of Time magazine’s 25 most influential teens for 2018 for her contributions to the sport.
Reporting by Mari Saito Editing by Toby Davis